FIBA OQT

Dwight Ramos’ absence gives Gilas Pilipinas’ growth new dimension

Delfin Dioquino
Dwight Ramos’ absence gives Gilas Pilipinas’ growth new dimension

SIDELINED. Dwight Ramos sits out all of Gilas Pilipinas' games in the Olympic qualifiers.

FIBA

Gilas Pilipinas captain Isaac Go says he and his teammates strive to fill the void left by the injured Dwight Ramos

Gilas Pilipinas’ development has gained a new dimension as the team tries to learn the ropes of beating world-class squads even without team stalwart Dwight Ramos.

Ramos starred for the Philippines in its sweep of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers with all-around averages of 13.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2 steals.

But Ramos found himself reduced to a spectator in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) due to a nagging groin strain.

“I think it’s more of that next-man-up mentality. We understand what Dwight gives us. He’s a hell of a player, hell of a leader,” said national team captain Isaac Go.

“But [not] just because he’s gone, we’re going to be, ‘Oh, Dwight’s gone, what are we going to do?’ It’s now, he leaves a gap and it allows players to step in that gap. Not even individually – collectively.”

That approach was evident in the Philippines’ narrow 76-83 loss to Serbia in its OQT opener as Ramos’ teammates strived to fill the void he left.

Jordan Heading shot the lights out for the Philippines with 13 points on a 4-of-5 clip from long distance, while RJ Abarrientos hit several big shots against mighty Serbia and finished with 9 points.

As Gilas Pilipinas missed the scoring of Ramos, naturalized player Angelo Kouame delivered a team-high 17 points on top of 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.

“We saw a lot of guys step up, fill holes, take different roles they’re not normally usually used to. They stepped up and tried their best to fill that gap,” Go said.

If there is one thing the Filipinos’ valiant effort against the Serbians has proven, it is their ability to put up a fight despite having one man down.

“I think that it’s a growing experience for a lot of the guys. It shows that we’re not just one guy – everybody can play, everybody can step up,” Go said. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

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.