JORDAN Heading’s hip injury kept him out of Gilas Pilipinas’ 12-man lineup against South Korea in the opener of the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
Coach Tab Baldwin said the situation of the top Gilas pick in the last PBA special draft made it easier for the coaching staff to leave him out of the roster at least for Wednesday’s game against the Sokors.
“The easiest [to leave out] was Jordan Heading because he’s nursing a hip issue which isn’t too serious,” said Baldwin just minutes after the national team officially announced its 12-man list on the eve of the tournament at the Angeles University Foundation gym.
Heading, along with late cuts Geo Chiu and LeBron Lopez, will be eligible for call-up in Gilas' succeeding games against Indonesia on Thursday and Korea on Friday.
“He probably could have played. But with the fact that we want to rotate the roster anyway, it was a good opportunity to give him some rest. His decision wasn’t that difficult.”
Baldwin added Heading's injury was actually sustained as early as last week while inside the Inspire Sports Academy bubble in Calamba, Laguna.
"He was worsed last week than he is now," said the Gilas mentor. "He's well into his recovery. As I said, he could have played.
"But we had two concerns. One, that he wouldn't be 100 percent and two, he might reinjured becuse you elevate your intensity, the energy you put into it, and maybe he would have problems with the hip flex or muscle. We don't want to get him reinjured at this early stage."
Baldwin said Heading will be inserted in the Gilas roster in the game against Indonesia on Friday.