BY REYNALD MAGALLON
Gilas Pilipinas is bracing for all the possibilities involving the team’s final composition for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and the PBA, in a joint press conference on Tuesday, Sept. 19, announced the addition of five more players to the Gilas pool in anticipation for the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee’s final decision regarding the inclusion of four of its players namely, Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Terrence Romeo and Mo Tautuaa.
San Miguel Beer’s CJ Perez and Chris Ross, NLEX’s Kevin Alas and NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino have been tapped as possible replacements in the event that the four players named to the lineup will be formally rejected by HAGOC.
Another Beerman in Marcio Lassiter was also added to the pool as Gilas took another blow after RR Pogoy was forced to withdraw from the national team due to medical reasons.
Gilas head coach Tim Cone shared that the four players were already rejected although no formal decision has been released yet as it was still being appealed by the Philippine Olympic Committee to the organizers.
“We’ve heard that the answer is no. We’ve heard that but we haven’t got anything official and we’re trying different avenues to continue,” said Cone.
Initially, it was only Abueva and Tautuaa, who were questionable ahead of the quadrennial meet as their names were not included in the initial 60-man list SBP submitted to the organizers last May.
However, another list of 37 players that were submitted to HAGOC casted doubts on the inclusion of Romeo and Tautuaa.
The two, who were part of the first 60-man list, were not included in the new list which, according to the organizers, is where Gilas should choose its players from.
The same list also ruled out the possibility of Stanley Pringle’s inclusion, who was initially planned to be the team’s reserve and alternate player in case Abueva and Perkins didn’t get the green light to join the team.
“So what happened later, mga five days ago, we were told that there is another list that was submitted. And it’s a list of 37 players. And on that list of 37 players, Mo and Terrence and even Stanley, who we had as our alternate, were not on the new list that was submitted,” Cone recalled.
According to SMC Sports director and concurrent Gilas team manager Alfrancis Chua, who joined Cone along side PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, chairman Ricky Vargas and vice chairman Bobby Rosales and SBP president Al Panlilio during the press conference, the HAGOC is expected to make a decision within the next 48 hours.
“We had to go to the list of 37 and look at that list and try to find four replacements for the guys that cannot supposedly cannot go, that’s Jason, Calvin Abueva, Moa Tautuaa and Terrence Romeo. So we have to look for four,” Cone said of the list which was composed of players majority from the collegiate scene and players suiting up in overseas leagues