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MANILA, Philippines – The Asian Games door remains ajar for Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Jason Perkins, and Mo Tautuaa.
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone said there is still hope for the four players to see action even as they teeter on the brink of being ruled ineligible for the quadrennial showpiece.
Named in the original 12-man lineup, Abueva, Romeo, Perkins, and Tautuaa are in danger of missing the Asian Games as they were not included in the list of players submitted to the organizing committee.
This forced the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to bring in Arvin Tolentino, CJ Perez, Kevin Alas, and Chris Ross as standby replacements.
Marcio Lassiter also came in as a substitute but solely for Roger Pogoy, who is out with a “serious medical condition.”
“Is there no hope for them? They’re breathing, that is about all we can say,” said Cone on Friday, September 22. “They’re still alive. We’re not jumping around and being happy but they’re still breathing.”
Despite joining the squad just a few days prior, Tolentino and Perez showed out as the Nationals hacked out an 86-81 win over Korean Basketball League club Changwon LG Sakers on Friday in their lone tune-up for the Asian Games.
Tolentino finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals, while Perez turned in 8 points, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds.
Alas scored 2 points and Ross dished out 2 assists.
While Cone admitted Gilas Pilipinas still “looked like a team out there” with a bunch of new players on board, he said Abueva, Romeo, Perkins, and Tautuaa have the inside track for the roster spots if they are given the green light.
Abueva, Perkins, and Tautuaa, after all, give the national team much-needed inside presence.
“With those four who came in suddenly, would we take them? That is a decision we’ll have to make,” said Cone. “[The old guys] actually were longer with us than the new guys, and again, they balance the lineup in terms of size.”
Gilas Pilipinas will fly to Hangzhou, China on Sunday, September 24, hopefully with its lineup situation already settled.
“I was told they’re still working on it. And we’ll have a definitive time by the 24th. But by and large, we got our 12 right now and that is who we’re going to continue to practice with,” said Cone.
Bunched in Group C, the Philippines will open its Asian Games campaign against Bahrain on September 26. – Rappler.com