Gilas’ Asian Games roster woes stay status quo
MANILA, Philippines–Less than 24 hours before Gilas Pilipinas’ flight for the 19th Asian Games in China, interim national coach Tim Cone offered no resolution to the manpower woes hounding the program.
“We don’t have anything,” Cone told a pair of reporters shortly after Gilas’ practice at Philsports Arena in Pasig City on a rainy Saturday afternoon, referring to the status of Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins and Mo Tautuaa.
The final practice saw Gilas sticking with the four last-minute call-ups—CJ Perez, Kevin Alas, Chris Ross, and Arvin Tolentino—and Marcio Lassiter. The five PBA standouts also played in Gilas’ win over visiting Changwon LG Sakers the night before.
“Their inclusion would’ve been transformational, but again, we don’t have control of that,” Cone said of the original quartet who would’ve provided Gilas size, versatility, and a different kind of defense.
“I can’t imagine anything changing at this time. It kills me to rule those four guys out because they really change the dynamics of the team in terms of size and versatility. Even knowledge, because they have all that foundational knowledge from the beginning of our Inspire camp,” he said.
“I don’t want to keep belaboring the point, but Calvin and Jason were supposed to be our defensive studs, they are our stoppers. Perkins is so strong physically and moves his feet really well and Calvin could really play you to the point where you’re no longer focused on your game anymore. That’s really their strength. We don’t have that right now, so we have to find ways to make up for that. That’s where we have to be creative in our defense.”
Romeo, Tautuaa, and Perkins were present in the friendly against the Koreans. The trio, along with Abueva, were nowhere to be found during the light session on Saturday.
A pair of Inquirer insiders said that the squad that played against the KBL semifinalists and trained one last time on Saturday is pretty much the final roster for the continental meet.
Cone is hoping that the four late additions’ wealth of experience and distinct characteristics make up for their last-minute insertion into the squad.
“And like I’ve said, they’re veteran players, they know the game. I’ve said it before, Kevin can come out and give you 30 [points] a night. Chris is a great leader, he’s been on those San Miguel teams forever. Marcio replaces Roger no matter what. Arvin knows us, so you know, he has that one really good skill which is being able to spread the floor,” he said.
“We lose a little bit in terms of size but we don’t lose in terms of pure talent. They are talented, they are smart and they are all leaders,” he added.
Gilas opens its campaign against Bahrain on Tuesday, Sept. 26.