By JONAS TERRADO
Gilas Pilipinas could be without Dwight Ramos, its most consistent performer during the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, for the duration of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia due to a groin injury.
Coach Tab Baldwin painted a gloomy picture about Ramos’ condition during the pre-OQT press conference Monday, June 28, but didn’t close the door on the possibility of seeing the 6-foot-4 guard play in the Group A matches against host Serbia and the Dominican Republic.
“Dwight is not likely for either game, but things can change overnight,” Baldwin said. “But with the groin injury, it’s not common. Usually these things drag on and that he seems to be experiencing.”
Baldwin also said Ramos had asked if he could play through pain, but the Gilas mentor seems convinced that the chances are very remote.
“Dwight has already said to me he wants to try but he’s in no shape to try,” he said.
Ramos had already missed last week’s tune-up game against China in Angeles City, Pampanga after an impressive showing in the third window of the continental qualifiers with averages of 15.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.3 steals in three games highlighted by twin wins over South Korea.
On the other hand, Baldwin seems confident that Carl Tamayo could suit up for the OQT after missing the second match against South Korea in the Asia Cup Qualifiers due to a sprained ankle.
“I wouldn’t say he’s had a setback, but I would say that now that he’s trying to go full speed, he’s experiencing quite a bit of discomfort in the ankle, but I think that he’ll push through,” Baldwin said of Tamayo, who had a solid 10-point showing in the first meeting with South Korea.
Naturalized player Ange Kouame, meanwhile, is dealing with a deep knee bruise he sustained in the third window, which makes things more challenging for Gilas as it faces one of the world’s best teams in Serbia and a Dominican Republic side which is inside the top 20 in the FIBA rankings.
“I know they’re gonna go out there and if they can give their best, that’s what they’re going to give,” he said.