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    Tue, Nov 29

    GILAS Pilipinas is facing mounting challenges in its build-up for the fourth window of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers next month, head coach Chot Reyes admitted.

    Reyes said injuries are one of the problems that have rendered Gilas' once-a-week practices almost useless ahead of road matches against Jordan on November 10 and Saudi Arabia on November 13.

    Reyes lamented that in its most recent Monday practice, Gilas didn’t had any point guard due to injuries since Chris Newsome was out due to calf injury and Scottie Thompson did not train due to a banged-up knee after Ginebra's game against Phoenix.

    [READ: Depleted Gilas eyes Kai for November window]

    June Mar Fajardo is already out for the next window after undergoing surgery in his throat. Worse naturalized center Ange Kouame also watched from the sidelines during the recent practice as he is also nursing an injury.

    “Aside from June Mar not being there, our biggest problem really is just getting enough healthy bodies in practice,” Reyes said. “Just like in the last practice, we didn’t even have a point guard. Imagine a Philippine team without a point guard.”

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    “Chris Newsome is injured and Scottie banged his knee the night before. We practiced without a point guard in our last practice. Those are the challenges that we are facing right now,” said Reyes.

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      “The question is are they going to be healthy and ready enough and we won’t know that until we get closer to the window itself,” he added.

      Reyes admitted the recently revived Monday practices accomplish little as Gilas remains incomplete.

      “We are not expecting a lot because while we are getting once-a-week, it’s just a walk through and there’s a lot of pieces who are not there. The Ravena brothers, Dwight, Ray Parks, the players from Japan are not there. It’s better than nothing. Better than before but it’s far than ideal,” said Reyes.

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      Reyes said the Gilas players from the Japan B.League will arrive in the country later this month to join practices. But even with that, Reyes said he expects to conduct full practices when they arrive in Jordan days before the actual games.

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      “Mahirap eh. If you look at the schedule, may mga games. I think mabubuo lang kami pagdating namin sa Jordan when we land in Jordan. I think two days before the game, that will be our very first real practice kasi I think Ginebra has a game November 6, Talk ‘N Text November 5, aalis kami November 7. Hindi kami makaka-practice before that. That’s the situation we are in,” said Reyes.

      But Reyes assured the coaching staff is doing its best to prepare the team despite the challenges.

      “That’s the problem that we have with these windows. It’s really a, pardon my French, a b*tch to prepare. Mahirap talaga. It’s a test to our agility and our flexibility. But it’s the reality. Wala na tayong magagawa diyan. We just have to buckle down and do our best,” said Reyes.

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