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Gilas Final 12 known Sunday; Wright, Erram suffer injuries

Expect no let-up from members of the Gilas Pilipinas pool as they look to make a good impression in the next few days before coach Yeng Guiao selects his final 12 for the FIBA World Cup.

Practice sessions have been stretched from two hours to three hours beginning last Monday before taking Australian club Adelaide 36ers in a pair of tune-up matches on Friday and Sunday at the Meralco Gym.

The extended practice hours coupled with the games opposite the 36ers hold key in Guiao’s decision to fill up his roster for the global cage competition which opens Aug. 31 in China.

Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao discusses a play with national team players including naturalized Andray Blatche during a practice session at the Meralco gym in Quezon City. (Waylon Galvez)

Gilas Pilipinas coach Yeng Guiao discusses a play with national team players. (Waylon Galvez)

Guiao said only two slots are up for grabs heading into the final phase of preparation for the Group D matches against Italy, Serbia and Angola.

“They will be crucial, especially for the last two slots, also for our final adjustments. That’s how important it is,” Guiao said referring to the final set of exhibition games.

Monday’s practice saw the absence of June Mar Fajardo, Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario, who played in the recent PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals which San Miguel Beer won in six games over TNT KaTropa.

While disappointed that the three weren’t able to show up as he had hoped, Guiao would rather understand the needs for them to get as much rest as possible.

“Maybe they know how their bodies fell so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

But the same session also witnessed ankle injuries that hit Matthew Wright and Poy Erram.

Wright’s injury appears to be serious after he was listed as day-to-day with a right peroneal tendon. Wright had participated in the early portion of practice but had to sit out to have his ankle checked.

Erram, meanwhile, rolled his left ankle after trying to block a shot, though Guiao said that the center’s injury only suffered a regular sprain.