ALREADY burdened with manpower woes, Gilas Pilipinas took another heavy blow as Dwight Ramos, one of its key players, is sitting out the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asia Cup campaign in Indonesia due to injury.
Mr. Ramos, according to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), is suffering from “medial tibial stress syndrome” or shin splints, which forced him out of action in the July 12-24 Continental meet altogether.
“(Mr.) Ramos has been dealing with pain in his left leg for the past week but it has become too much to overcome as he could not join the team for practice anymore,” the SBP said on Sunday.
Mr. Ramos, who produced 21 points, five rebounds, two assists and four steals in Gilas’ 79-63 rout of India last Sunday in the FIBA World Cup (WC) Asian Qualifiers third window, joined Ange Kouame (ACL tear) and Dave Ildefonso (knee) in sick bay.
Reserve Rhenz Abando, pending clearance from FIBA Asia, is being eyed to take Mr. Ramos’ spot and link up with skipper Kiefer Ravena, Poy Erram, Thirdy Ravena, Ray Parks, RJ Abarrientos, SJ Belangel, William Navarro, Carl Tamayo, Francis Lopez, Geo Chiu and Kevin Quiambao.
“We will definitely miss Dwight (Ramos) who’s one of our starters,” said Gilas program director Chot Reyes, who is tasked to call the shots for the youth-laden five.
“But that’s the value of having a pool and the reason why Rhenz (Abando) is making the trip with the team.”
Gilas is set to launch its bid in Group D on Wednesday against Lebanon before facing off with old rivals from the recent WC Qualifiers in India and New Zealand on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Mr. Reyes’ wards need to top the group to gain outright entry into the quarterfinals or at least finish second or third for a chance to advance via the qualification to the quarterfinal stage. — Olmin Leyba