THE practices Calvin Abueva missed for Alaska is taking its toll on his game shape for the national team, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said on Monday.
Reyes said Abueva was unimpressive in practice on Monday night, just a few more days before Gilas Pilipinas leaves for Chinese-Taipei for the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asia qualifiers.
Reyes said the fitness of 'The Beast' has obviously deteriorated owing to his absences from Alaska practices since he was suspended indefinitely for unexplained absences.
Alaska, however, has allowed Abueva to join national team practices and the enigmatic forward is currently vying for a place in the Gilas team for qualifiers against Chinese-Taipei and Australia.
“Nakita niyo he is also struggling in the scrimmages because same thing, he hasn’t been playing for what, two weeks na since he missed the Alaska practice,” said Reyes.
Abueva declined to be interviewed by reporters after Gilas practices, saying he will only talk once he is ready to speak in public.
The Alaska star took extra shots after Gilas’ practice ended on Monday night, perhaps in his bid to find his rhythm.
“His timing is off. He is not as sharp as the other guys. That’s what not playing does to you,” Reyes said.
Reyes currently is also dealing with fitness issues concerning naturalized player Andray Blatche, who the veteran coach said is fit but is not yet in game shape.
Gilas will begin daily practices only on June 25 once it arrives in Taipei for the third window of the qualifiers for the 2019 Fiba World Cup, beginning with a match against the home team on June 29.
Those practices will be crucial for Abueva, according to Reyes.
“Like I said, crucial talaga ‘yung three practices namin in Taipei,” Reyes said.