Visa delays keeping Philippine team from finalizing roster for Fiba Asia Champions Cup
The team is confident it can complete the travel documents for Isaiah Austin before the tournament. Marlo Cueto

VISA delays are keeping the coaching staff from finalizing the Philippine team roster for the Fiba Asia Champions Cup, but there is still time to complete the documents for key players before the team leaves for China.

The staff has yet to complete travel documents for players including Isaiah Austin, a candidate for naturalization, and Congolese reinforcement Rod Ebondo, for the tournament set Sept. 22 to 30 in Chenzhou.

But organizers are giving the Philippine team more time to complete the documents even as the deadline has passed, because the squad was also invited late after a Japanese team backed out. 

"The visas of both Rod and Isaiah are not yet cleared so we really can't give a final lineup," said coach Chot Reyes after Monday's practice at the Meralco Gym.

"Actually lampas na lampas na yung deadline e," he added.

"They're just giving us accommodation because first of all we're a late invite. We're not bound by the aame deadline like the other teams," he added. "Secondly they know we're having problems securing visas." 

If the visa issues can’t be resolved in time, the team backed by Chooks to Go will tap players on standby, including Gab Banal and Andre Paras.

"We have Gab Banal and Andre Paras to step in," said Reyes.

The team is set to hold two practice sessions on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday morning before leaving for Chenzhou in the afternoon.

"I think given the preparation, getting to the quarterfinals is a very reasonable expectation. Hindi na masama kung umabot tayo dun," he said.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros