JV Casio may miss final Smart Gilas team
He considers it as a big blow, but Smart Gilas Pilipinas coach Rajko Toroman may be forced to exclude the injured JV Casio from the final 12-man lineup for the Fiba Asia Championship which starts Thursday.
The dynamic point guard, the PBA’s top rookie pick, hurt his knee in the William Jones Cup in Taipei last month and wasn’t able to play in tuneup games against Qatar and Jordan last week.
“We have some doubts if JV could play,” said Toroman, who is to submit the final 12-man Philippine roster during the manager’s meeting Wednesday.
The Nationals arrived in Wuhan yesterday with 14 players for the 2012 London Olympic qualifier.
Toroman also has to decide who between forwards Mac Baracael and Dylan Ababou would be dropped from the squad.
“We will monitor JV’s status during practice today (last night) and tomorrow (today),” said Toroman. “If he says he won’t be ready, he won’t be ready. But if he is up to it, he’ll be in the lineup.”
According to Toroman, the 6-foot-3 Baracael, who got used to playing as an undersized power forward, has to slide to the wings, Ababou’s comfort zone.
“We changed Baracael’s position because we now have three power forwards,” said Toroman. “We’ll discuss and decide who will fit us more.”
Completing the PH roster are PBA stars Asi Taulava, Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel De Ocampo and Kelly Williams, mainstays Japeth Aguilar, team captain Chris Tiu, Mark Barroca, Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter and center Marcus Douthit.
In an interview during the team’s final practice at the Meralco gym on Monday, Casio said he’s 90 percent ready.
“I’m still undergoing therapy everyday,” said Casio, selected No. 1 overall by the Powerade Tigers in the recent PBA Draft. “This is the tournament that we’ve all been waiting for. I don’t want to miss this one.”
Bracketed in Group D in the opening round, the Filipinos will begin their stint against United Arab Emirates tomorrow.
They take on powerhouse China Friday and Bahrain on Saturday.
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