Gilas loses Scottie to old injury, will fly with only 11 men to Latvia
ANOTHER GOOD MAN DOWN

Gilas loses Scottie to old injury, will fly with only 11 men to Latvia

/ 02:20 AM June 22, 2024

Gilas loses Scottie to old injury, will fly with only 11 men to Latvia

An old problem reared its ugly head once again as Gilas Pilipinas on Friday officially lost Barangay Ginebra star Scottie Thompson to a recurring back injury with the Nationals having less than two weeks left before departing for a mammoth task of trying to make the Paris Olympics through the Riga, Latvia qualifiers.

“Scottie is out because of an injury,” team manager Richard del Rosario told the Inquirer just as the Nationals opened camp at Inspire Sports Academy in Laguna.

Thompson, according to Del Rosario, has been grounded by a slipped disc—the same back injury that hobbled him at times in his collegiate career and again kept him from playing three games early into the Gin Kings’ bid in the recently concluded Philippine Cup.

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The tireless playmaker is the latest mainstay to be ruled out for the July 2-8 tournament that will complete the competing nations in the Summer Olympic Games in the glitzy fashion capital next month.

Thompson becomes the third man to be scratched from the team after two-way forward Jamie Malonzo and big man AJ Edu, who was a revelation in the Fiba World Cup the country hosted last year.

Latvia first

Team Philippines first clashes with host Latvia, ranked sixth in the World, and then Georgia.

Coach Tim Cone has already rued missing the 6-foot-11 Edu, whom he feels could be vital in battling Latvia’s big men. Now, he will be dealing with the loss of a do-it-all playmaker familiar with his system and its tendencies, and an integral cog in the long-haul cast geared toward returning to the Olympics either through the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) this year or the World Cup set in Qatar three years from now.

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The Nationals kicked off their closed-door training camp with original, handpicked talents present. Japeth Aguilar and Ateneo center Mason Amos, tapped as reserves back in April, were again joined by practice players Ralph Cu and Donald Gumaru—both Cone guys at Ginebra.

The Philippines won’t be the only side dealing with a manpower crisis as Latvia’s Kristaps Porzingis is expected to opt out of the OQT, as he is set to undergo surgery for a leg injury that kept him from playing three games of the NBA Finals his Boston Celtics won over Dallas.

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Arturs Zagars, a crowd darling during the last World Cup, is also still coping with a knee problem sustained while serving his mother club BC Wolves in the Lithuanian Basketball League (LBL).

“Obviously, I’m still working towards that,” he said of a possible OQT stint in an interview published on the LBL website.

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As things stand, Gilas will be having just 11 players for the OQTs that will be cohosted by Spain, Greece and Puerto Rico. And whatever problems related to such a short roster should be visible even to casual fans when the Nationals host the Taiwan Mustangs this Monday at PhilSports Arena in one of its many friendlies leading up to the Riga showcase.

Gilas played with an undermanned roster during the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers when many-time World Cup June Mar Fajardo and Edu were sidelined with varying injuries.

TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas, Scottie Thompson

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