MANILA, Philippines – Chot Reyes does not need to look far for someone to fill the void for Gilas Pilipinas as Roger Pogoy misses the sixth and final window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Reyes confirmed that Pogoy will miss the Philippines’ home stand against Lebanon and Jordan later this month after the TNT guard hurt his left ankle while playing in the PBA.
“We felt that it is more prudent in the long term that Roger sits this one out,” said Reyes on Monday, February 20, after wrapping up practice for the national team.
“It is a tricky injury, he suffered a bone bruise so that is something like a first-degree sprain.”
Pogoy delivered for the Philippines in the fifth window last November, averaging 10 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals in a pair of wins over Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
In the PBA, Pogoy punished opposing teams, norming 22.6 points on top of 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in his first seven games in the Governors’ Cup before he sustained his injury.
But even without Pogoy, Reyes hopes that the rest of Gilas Pilipinas’ backcourt steps up, particularly comebacking guard Jordan Heading and newcomer Schonny Winston.
Heading – who plays in the Japan B. League – buried the hatchet with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas over a year since their contract dispute, while Winston received a call-up after a solid stint with La Salle in the UAAP.
“We’ve been very impressed with how Jordan is playing. Not only him but Schonny Winston has been performing very well,” said Reyes.
“So in terms of our depth chart, after Roger in that spot, those are the players really there.”
Reyes, though, made it clear that Heading and Winston still have to fight for their places in the final roster, with the pool set to be trimmed to 12 players.
“Part of their commitment is to be here, to be part of the pool without any assurance on who is going to make the Final 12,” Reyes said.
Toting a 5-3 record, Filipinos battle the Lebanese and Jordanians on February 24, Friday, and on February 27, Monday, at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. – Rappler.com
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