MANILA, Philippines – Calvin Abueva's chances of returning for Gilas Pilipinas in their campaign for the second window of the FIBA Asian Qualifiers may be slim but he is nonetheless holding on to that little hope.
Abueva was dropped for the window, where Gilas will face Australia and Japan next week, due to absences in the first 3 practices. But he has since shown his desire to be reinstated in the national team, showing up for the squad's subsequent training sessions.
"Ginagawa ko lang 'yung best ko dito. Sayang rin na mag-skip ka sa second window kaya mahalaga sa akin ito," said Abueva.
(I'm just doing my best here. I don't want to skip the second window so this is really important to me.)
Gilas head coach Chot Reyes made it clear that they took the Alaska Aces star "out of the consideration" for the second window. However, an influx of injuries among other Gilas players may be keeping the door ajar for an Abueva return.
"I've always said: People can play themselves into consideration, into the pool and out of the pool, or out of consideration. There's no change there. 'Wag tayo excited (Let's not be excited)," Reyes said.
Gilas' initial 16-man pool is now down to 14 with Abueva and Raymond Almazan being dropped.
But that number may go lower with Troy Rosario being questionable after he slammed his chin on the hardcourt last February 7. He attended Gilas' practice on Tuesday, February 13, but did not join scrimmages.
"He (Abueva) continues to come and practice as part of the pool, just like everybody else here. So we haven't made any decisions either way because we're still assessing the injury status of the other guys so we're not yet in a position to make any final decisions or determinations [in the] lineup," Reyes said.
Despite the uncertainty, Abueva promised to provide the same intensity for Gilas he is known for.
"Kulang kulang ang mga players, may mga injured. Kung mapasama ako, malaking bagay sa akin 'yun. Dodoblehin ko 'yung effort ko," he added.
(There are injured players. It would be a big thing for me if I'm reinstated in the team. I will double my effort.)
Gilas will face Australia in their own turf on February 22 before returning home to take on Japan on February 25. – Rappler.com
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.