Dwight Ramos injury deprives Chot chance to check out wing trio
The Fiba (International Basketball Federation) Asia Cup would’ve been a perfect avenue for the Philippines to test drive the trio of Dwight Ramos, Thirdy Ravena, and Ray Parks Jr., and determine how much of a role they would play for the Basketball World Cup here next year.
But that will have to wait as Ramos was scratched from the roster due to shin splints.
“Obviously, it’s a big blow. He’s really our starter and our mainstay who does a lot for our team,” Chot Reyes told reporters on Sunday as TNT wrapped up its elimination round campaign ahead of all other PBA teams so the national coach could focus on Gilas.
“It would’ve been nice to see how [Ramos, Ravena and Parks] will play together. But unfortunately, that won’t be the case for now. We have to wait some more for that to happen,” he went on.
In missing Ramos, Gilas will be deprived of its steadiest weapon in the continental tiff in Jakarta, Indonesia, that begins this Wednesday.
The former Ateneo recruit has been solid for the Nationals since the Asia Cup qualifiers last year, putting up 13.8 points for the 20th best in that tournament. He wound up as the most efficient member of the Philippines in World Cup Asian qualifiers as well with an average rating of 17.3 while scoring 15.5 points for a share of the eighth spot in the tournament leaderboard.
Reyes said that Gilas is also going to be denied of size with Ramos shelved.
“We needed that big wingman for New Zealand. Lebanon is already big, too,” he said.
Fortunately, this is but a short-term hitch for Ramos and Gilas.
“There’s no structural damage according to his MRI. But the pain, it’s keeping him from practice. He tried to [practice] the other day but to no avail. And we know Dwight, he doesn’t complain. If it really hurts, it hurts,” said Reyes, who is also the concurrent program director.
“We’ll just have to manage the expectations of the people,” he added.
Expected to take the place of Ramos is Rhenz Abando, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year and Gilas’ second-best scorer during the third window of the World Cup qualifying games last week.
Reyes and his TNT ward, Poy Erram, are set to join the PH contingent by Monday night, giving them at least a day to train together. The Nationals open their bid against Lebanon 9 p.m. at Istora Stadium armed with tempered expectations.
“I know when we arrive there’s a huge, huge task ahead of us. We’re going to play in a very tough group. Lebanon is playing the best game I’ve seen them play in recent years. Their team is really stacked, they’re playing at a high level. It will take our best just to be able to compete. And we know how tough New Zealand is,” said Reyes.
“Just want to manage everyone’s expectations, we’re going to try our best to get to the Top 8, but the objective is to really look at the players we have in this team and see their continued development, and continue our process of finding out what’s going to take that we have the best team for 2023,” he added. INQ