Gilas team manager lauds how Tenorio, Abueva accepted being left out of Final 12 
LA Tenorio tweeted the Gilas hashtag '#PUSO' shortly after he was left out of the Final 12 that will represent the Philippines in the Manila Olympic qualifier. Jerome Ascano

IT was a decision in which he had to ‘lose sleep.’ But in the end, it’s an excruciating job which Tab Baldwin has to do.

The Gilas Pilipinas coach explained how he and his coaching staff had to excruciatingly go through the process of leaving out veteran LA Tenorio and popular choice Calvin Abueva in the final 12-man lineup of the team set to compete in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament two weeks from now at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Baldwin made the formal announcement on Sunday night in a tele-conference straight from Italy, where the team is currently winding down its three-week training camp through a four-nation pocket tournament.

“We ended up leaving the two because we can’t squeeze everybody into the final 12,” said Baldwin before his live audience at the TV5 studio in Reliance St. in Mandaluyong led by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan.

“We have to go through the process, and we have to be professional (about it).”

[See Abueva, Tenorio surprise final cuts in Gilas lineup to Olympic qualifier]

Baldwin though, did not in any way attempt to explain the reason behind the non-inclusion of Abueva and Tenorio to a team that is looking to end the country’s non-appearance in the Olympics the past 44 years.

But team manager Butch Antonio did expound how it was tough to leave out the two, especially Abueva, who a lot of people thought was a shoo-in to the team in the aftermath of his remarkable showing with Gilas in the last Fiba Asia Men’s Championship in China.

“In any team naman or in any sports, when you cut players, its always the hardest part,” said Antonio shortly after the final four names of Jeff Chan, Troy Rosario, Ryan Reyes, and Ray Parks were revealed.

“I have that experience with coach Chot (Reyes) before during Beau Belga being out of the 12, and now with coach Tab,” he said.

[See Chot Reyes believes lack of ceiling doomed Abueva, Tenorio hope of making Final 12]

But he lauded both players for making it easy for the coaching staff and the rest of the team.

“What made it easy was the way they responded, the way they took the decision,” he said, obviously having talked to Tenorio and Abueva prior to making the announcement.

“It’s team first before themselves.”

Tenorio later tweeted in his account@LA_Tenorio the hashtag '#PUSO.'


Follow the writer on Twitter: @gerardmos