TNT KaTropa is set to take the biggest hit when Gilas Pilipinas' preparation for the 2017 Seaba Championships goes full throttle in the next few weeks.
The national team is expected to field a strong squad for the tournament in May, which means some of KaTropa's key players are bound to miss time from their mother club and leave coach Nash Racela in a deep bind trying to keep his team competitive in the mid-season conference.
Rookie Roger Pogoy, a part of the Gilas cadet program, is expected to miss at least a month in preparation for the regional meet. Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario are also part of the pool and could be out for TNT for a significant amount of time in the Commissioner's Cup.
Racela admitted he’s struggling with uncertainties but he’s already preparing his team as if it would be without three of his top guns.
"To tell you honestly, up to now I don't really know the real set-up. But we've been preparing as if we're gonna lose all those Gilas players," said Racela, who is also on the lookout for a new import after the team decided to send home Denzel Bowles.
[See RDO bares 'mental baggage' led to sudden Bowles exit from TNT]
"We're giving the other guys like (Levi) Hernandez, sila (Al Francis) Tamsi exposure every minute sa mga tune-up games cause they know they must help us if we lose those three guys," he added.
The two played big minutes in their tune-up match against Star, which they won 87-84.
Hernandez looked solid, taking in Pogoy's role at the wings, as he finished with eight points. Tamsi, on the other hand, finished the game for KaTropa and had two crucial baskets late.
"Kami yung pinakamarami, I think could be three or four players we'll be losing for Gilas so that's a real handicap," Racela added, while stating that they could also lend big man Moala Tautuaa - possibly as a naturalized player - if national duty calls.
But like what Racela always does, the rookie PBA coach still manages to joke around despite their predicament.
"That's the situation eh, if the PBA will allow us to have another import eh di good. It's a good idea no?"