GILAS Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes has confirmed on Friday that he has been informed by Alaska management that Calvin Abueva can't join the national team pool owing to a knee injury that requires surgery.
Reyes announced the development with a tweet on Thursday, posting on his Twitter account @coachchot: "Just got word fr Alaska mgt that Calvin can't join Gilas."
The announcement ended days of suspense after Reyes opened the door for the inclusion of the Alaska super rookie in the injury-ravaged Gilas pool, from where the members of the team that will compete in the Fiba-Asia Men's Basketball Championship will be picked.
Reyes' original 17-man pool is down to 15 men after injuries to Kelly Williams and Jared Dillinger, and two more - Ryan Reyes and Abueva's Alaska teammate Sonny Thoss - have begged off from joining the team's training camp in Lithuania next month, also owing to injuries.
The multi-titled coach had said that he had long coveted Abueva for the Gilas pool and expressed hope that he would be allowed to draft the former NCAA MVP as a late call-up.
In a succeeding tweet, the multi-titled coach said that from the group of PBA players he invited to make up the numbers in practice while the injured players recuperate, only two have showed up so far - Petron's Arwind Santos and Denok Miranda.
As early as Thursday, Alaska Aces team owner Wilfred Uytengsu had hinted that Abueva won't be available for the Gilas pool, saying the super rookie had told him in a heart-to-heart talk that he prefers to recover from a knee injury that he had endured since March.
“We talked to Calvin and he wants to rest. He is tired,” said Uytengsu. “He’s probably tired playing two years of basketball without any breaks.
“Calvin does have a knee injury and the doctor wants to look at it, that he probably needs to have a minor procedure and recovery time,” added Uytengsu.
Uytengsu admitted that he himself was out of the loop about Abueva’s injury which coach Luigi Trillo only revealed to media after winning the Commissioner’s Cup Finals against Barangay Ginebra.
“Tinago kasi namin talaga yun. Alam ko aware lang ang marami sa injury ni Sonny (Thoss), pero ang totoo sina Calvin, Gabby (Espinas) and JV (Casio) are also playing hurt,” said Trillo.
The four Aces will spend two weeks in China next month for treatment.
As for Reyes' suggestion to replace Thoss with Abueva in the Gilas roster, the flamboyant team owner said: “The coaching staff over there needs to decide what they want to do, but Calvin and Sonny are not interchangeable. They play two different positions. If they need a big man, they should get a big man.”