ALL eyes are on Serbia now for the Fiba Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, but for Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin, his primary focus as of the moment is getting his players back in tip-top shape.
"We need to heal up as well," he said on Wednesday after the Filipinos' 79-all stalemate against China for its only tuneup game ahead of the Belgrade trip.
Dwight Ramos is dealing with a strained groin, while Carl Tamayo is still recovering from a sprained left knee leading to Baldwin resting the two for the friendly.
"Dwight has got a strained muscle in his groin and we're just not sure exactly what it is right now. He's not ready to do any live activity and groin muscles, they're pretty dodgy. You never know how long they're gonna last, and they tend to recur easily, but we're hopeful that it's not too serious and he won't be out long," he said.
"Carl's pretty close right now to getting back. I'd say a couple of more days and he can start training live."
However, those woes were compounded after the physical duel with China which left a number of players also hurting after the exhibition game.
"Ange Kouame hurt his knee tonight, there was just a clash of knees so it's nothing, but it's gonna take a day or two to settle down. Jordan Heading got kneed in the ribs. SJ Belangel took a real shot, he was limping off the court in the game," shared Baldwin.
"So we're banged up, but you expect that when you play when we played four games in a week and that's just what happens."
It's an unfortunate situation to be in, all the more with the Philippines being the underdogs for the trip as it faces world no. 5 Serbia and Dominican Republic in the six-nation tourney, with only the winner earning the lone ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Baldwin, however, is sticking to the positives from the China game, knowing that these games will prepare this youthful team for the tougher wars ahead.
"We were banged up going into the game, and then we got kind of got banged up in the game. But we have some days to recover now. It was really a good exercise for us," he said.
Gilas leaves for Serbia on Thursday afternoon.
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