Chot Reyes drops Abueva, Almazan from Gilas pool for second qualifying window
National coach Chot Reyes drops the bombshell at the end of Gilas practice on Monday which Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan again missed. Jerome Ascano

IT looks like Calvin Abueva and Raymond Almazan won't be seeing action for Gilas Pilipinas in the second window of the 2019 Fiba World Cup qualifiers in February.

National coach Chot Reyes announced at the end of training on Monday that he was dropping the two from the Gilas pool, saying the two have yet to show up for practice since Gilas reconvened three weeks ago ahead of matches against powerhouse Australia on Feb. 22 and Japan on Feb. 25.

"The reason why we're dropping Abueva and Almazan for the second window is they haven't showed up," said Reyes after the light practice at the Meralco Gym.

"It's already our third practice. Hindi sila nagpapakita and it's simply a matter of disinterest. I guess they're not interested so we have to move on. We can't wait for those guys," the multi-titled coach added.

Reyes said he hasn't informed the two about their axing, but only because they are not showing up for practice.

"Nope. I don't know if anyone told them but right now we made that announcement today," he said. "It's been communicated with the team and the reason it's not been communicated with them is because they're not here. How can we communicate with them if they're not here?"

Gilas team manager Butch Antonio said they have yet to discuss whether they will replace the Alaska and Rain or Shine stars, respectively.

Essentially, Gilas has a 15-man pool of PBA players for the second window of the qualifiers and can complete a lineup for the Australia and Japan matches without naming a replacement for Almazan or Abueva, or both.

Aside from the two, also in the pool are Jayson Castro, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Jio Jalalon, RR Pogoy, Matthew Wright, Allein Maliksi, Gabe Norwood, Carl Bryan Cruz, Mac Belo, Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, and June Mar Fajardo.

Reyes said Gilas also plans to tap naturalized player Andray Blatche for the two matches.

"Well, right now wala pang mine-mention sila coach but I think what's important lang nga is officially for this window, this February windowof the Fiba World Cup qualifiers na na-drop muna si Calvin at si Raymond," Antonio said. 

"With regard to replacing (the two), I'm not sure but I guess with the PBA there, if coach Chot and the coaching staff feel that they need to replace, then we can always make representation with the Commissioner's Office."


Asked if the two gave any valid reasons for their absences, Antonio said Abueva mentioned a hamstring injury although he played long minutes in Alaska's win over Ginebra on Sunday night. 

On the other hand, Almazan, one of th last cuts during the first window of the qualifiers, played for Rain or Shine in Saturday's loss to KIA, although he was ejected after exchanging blows with Eric Camson. 

"Si Calvin mentioned that he has a hamstring injury. Raymond, I'm not sure. Sinabi sa akin kanina that he was trying to call me, I didn't get naman any call," he said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros