ALASKA Milk team owner Wilfred Uytengsu is open to the idea of Calvin Abueva being made a late call-up to the Gilas Pilipinas team that will compete in the Fiba-Asia Men's Basketball Championship in August.
Abueva is coming off an impressive showing in the last Commissioner's Cup, where he won his first championship as a pro with the Aces while finishing second to Barangay Ginebra's LA Tenorio in the Best Player of the Conference balloting.
The former NCAA MVP looked a perfect fit for Gilas, which in recent months saw its 17-man pool slashed to 15 following health setbacks suffered by the Talk 'N Text pair of Kelly Williams and Jared Dillinger.
Alaska has one player in the Gilas pool in Sonny Thoss, who was barred by the Uytengsu franchise from joining Gilas' practices during the course of the Commissioner's Cup campaign so as not to disrupt the team's quest for a championship.
But in the din of the celebration on Sunday night after Alaska's sweep of Barangay Ginebra in the Finals, Uytengsu sounded more open when asked if he's willing to release another player in case Gilas makes the request.
“If they (Gilas) want him (Abueva), I guess we will talk about that, too," said Uytengsu, smiling.
Uytengsu, a major backer of the national team especially during the 1998 Asian Games campaign of the Centennial team coached by Tim Cone, added that Thoss can now join Gilas.
“And now, Sonny can join Gilas as soon as he is healthy. He’s going to see a doctor - he’s a little bit hurt. But he’s going to be there. He’s ready to play,” said Uytengsu of his prized big man who emerged as the Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP.
Thoss is set to miss out on Gilas' training camp in Lithuania to undergo therapy on his back in Beijing - a move that puts at risk his bid to make it to the Fiba-Asia team.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes has already said that he has no plan to add more players to his pool despite the injuries, but league insiders feel drafting reinforcements, if needed, may not be too late considering Gilas has yet to start the final stage of its Fiba-Asia buildup.