‘We’re 11 strong’: Gilas Pilipinas sticks with current roster minus Scottie Thompson

Delfin Dioquino

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‘We’re 11 strong’: Gilas Pilipinas sticks with current roster minus Scottie Thompson

POINT GUARD. Scottie Thompson in action for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2024 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers.


Head coach Tim Cone says Gilas Pilipinas decided not to get a stand-in for injured guard Scottie Thompson as it competes in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

MANILA, Philippines – There is no more replacing Scottie Thompson as Gilas Pilipinas sticks with its 11-man crew for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga, Latvia.

Head coach Tim Cone confirmed on Monday, June 24, that the team decided not to get a stand-in for Thompson, who is out with the same back injury that also kept him out at the start of the previous PBA Philippine Cup.

“We’re 11 strong,” said Cone after the Nationals nailed a 74-64 win over the Taiwan Mustangs in a friendly game on the eve of their flight to Europe.

“I don’t feel we’re shorthanded at all. I’m not a guy who plays 11 or 12 guys anyway. You know me, I don’t play that many guys. I’m really an eight or nine-man rotation [guy].”

“The reason you have 12 guys is not necessarily for the game but to have 12 guys in practice in case somebody goes down.”

Injuries have pestered the national team as it is also set to miss original players AJ Edu (knee) and Jamie Malonzo (calf) in the OQT, where the Philippines will face world No. 6 Latvia and No. 23 Georgia in the group stage.

But Gilas Pilipinas found replacements for Edu and Malonzo as early as April, tapping Japeth Aguilar and Amos as reserve players.

Thompson looked ready to suit up in the OQT as he saw action for Barangay Ginebra in the PBA just last May 31 – a Game 7 loss to Meralco in the semifinals – before being bothered again by his bulging disc.

“I would rather go with 12 and invite people to play rather than go with 16 and cut people. I didn’t want to cut people. The idea is we need somebody, we’ll go get them. We got Japeth, we got Mason,” said Cone.

“The thing with Scottie happened so late, however, we just couldn’t get somebody for him. We didn’t really feel we needed anybody for him at this point.”

With Thompson sidelined, Cone counts on Dwight Ramos, CJ Perez, and Chris Newsome to share the backcourt load.

In Europe, Gilas Pilipinas will play two more friendly matches against the national teams of Turkiye (Turkey) and Poland before it competes in the OQT, which is scheduled from July 2 to 7. –

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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.