GILAS Pilipinas opens its Fiba World Cup qualifier campaign without one of its top offensive weapons.
Terrence Romeo didn't join the national team that left for Tokyo on Tuesday morning to play in the world championship qualifying meet that kicks off Friday at the Komazawa Olympic Ground General Sports Ground Gymnasium.
The team departed for Haneda, Japan via Philippine Airlines PR422.
The Globalport shooting guard is reportedly nursing an injury that kept him to limited practice with Gilas. He wasn't around when the team held its final practice on the eve of its departure at the Meralco gym.
Gilas management has kept under wraps whether Romeo will be able to suit up or not, listing him as part of the 16-man pool.
But people close to the former UAAP MVP disclosed he's certainly not playing against the Japanese in the opener of the home-and-away qualifier.
Not even a surprise, last-minute trip to the Japanese capital would be possible.
"Negative," said a source close to the PBA superstar.
But without doubt, Romeo's absence would left a big void on Gilas" offensive scheme, coach Chot Reyes admitted.
"Malaki," was his curt reply when SPIN.ph asked him about the effect of not having Romeo against Iran Brown and the Japanese.
Romeo saw action for Gilas in the team's twin victories against the Japanese during the 2015 Fiba Asia Cup in Changsha, China, including an 81-70 win in the semifinals.
Gilas returns to the country on the afternoon of Nov. 25