Injuries pile up for Gilas Pilipinas ahead of Serbia clash
MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas’ health issues couldn’t have come at an inopportune time.
Key cogs in Ange Kouame, Dwight Ramos and Carl Tamayo are all nursing injuries just three days before the Philippines clashes with heavyweight Serbia in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the Serbian capital of Belgrade.
“We’re banged up. There’s no question we came out of the third window limping,” said Philippine team head coach Tab Baldwin during the pre-event press conference on Monday.
Ramos, who emerged as Gilas’ go-to guy in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers in Clark, remains doubtful for the Philippines’ both games against the host on July 1 and the Dominican Republic on July 2 due to a strained groin.
“Dwight is not likely for either game but things can change overnight but with the groin injury, it’s not common. Usually, these things drag on and that’s what we seem to be experiencing,” Baldwin said.
Kouame, who aptly filled in his role as Gilas’ new naturalized player, won’t be at full strength as well with a knee injury.
“Ange Kouame is nursing his deep knee bruise, deep knee contusion that he got in the third window and he’s not at full speed,” said Baldwin.
Tamayo, meanwhile, has not regained his form yet as he continues to deal with Grade 1 left ankle sprain which he suffered against Indonesia on June 18.
“Carl Tamayo I wouldn’t say he’s had a setback but I would say that now that he’s trying to go full speed, he’s experiencing quite a bit of discomfort in the ankle but I think that he’ll push through,” Baldwin said.
“We are limping and these are key players but we know that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and Dwight has already said to me he wants to try but he’s just in no shape to try. I know that they’re gonna go out there and if they can give their best that’s what they’re gonna give.”