Gilas with two injured big men as next Fiba window nears
MANILA, Philippines—Ahead of a crucial stretch in the Fiba Basketball World Cup qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas is looking at a few bumps in its preparation.
Big men Raymond Almazan and Troy Rosario are both sidelined due to injuries without concrete timetable for return, putting their participation in the national team’s crucial game against Qatar in Doha in peril.
National team head coach Yeng Guiao knows they have to settle things quickly since their next game on Feb. 21 could very well determine if Gilas, who holds a 5-5 record and are in the fourth seed of Group F, advances to the World Cup.
“There’s some things we need to settle, first is the injury to Raymond and we have to know exactly what his medical situation is including Troy,” said Guiao after his club team NLEX lost to Rain or Shine, 96-87, in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday at Cuneta Astrodome.
“We have to determine if they can make it because if no, we have to think of replacements.”
Almazan is nursing a sprained left ankle while Rosario suffered a broken nose during a tune-up game with NLEX right before the New Year.
Rain or Shine’s center expressed his regret that he’s on the sideline with an injury instead of being in top shape for Gilas.
“It’s disappointing because I was given a new chance to represent the Philippines and now I’m injured,” said Almazan. “I just hope I make it back in time.”
Almazan stepped on Norbert Torres’ foot in practice and that fall aggravated his previous injuries on the same ankle.
Guiao added that he can still change the pool of players for the next Fiba window especially now that he has the option of taking Andray Blatche.
“I was told that Andray will be ready by February 1, so we’ll see if he can make it,” said Guiao. “That’s going to give us around three weeks to prepare with him but if he’s in shape when he gets here that’s going to be a big help.”