ALASKA forward Calvin Abueva has been called up for Gilas Pilipinas as national coach Tab Baldwin and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) scamper to put together a pool of PBA players for the team bound for the Fiba Asia championship in September.
The controversial bruiser got the call to join the Gilas pool only on Monday afternoon, just a week before Baldwin is scheduled to gather the players for their first practice for the tournament in China serving as the Asian qualifier for the 2016 Olympics.
The Gilas pool was originally scheduled to gather for practice on Wednesday but it was since moved back, further eating up on the short preparation time of the team of professional players.
The invitation, sources said, was coursed through Alaska coach Alex Compton, who is set to join Baldwin's national staff as an assistant.
As this developed, sources said veteran slotman Taulava has also been called up for national duty at age 43.
Spin.ph had previously reported that the former NCAA MVP was given a serious look by Baldwin but was eventually ommitted from the 26 players named to a pool submitted by Gilas to the PBA Commissioner's Office.
That list, however, has since gone through several revisions amid problems besetting Gilas over the availability of the handpicked players, primarily San Miguel big man June Mar Fajardo, who is nursing injuries, and Star's marc Pingris who is leaving for an emergency trip to France.
Interestingly, Abueva was called up a day after Baldwin told Pingris that his spot in the national team may be given to someone else if he fails to come back from France for the start of training camp.
Unlike Abueva, Taulava is part of the 26-man pool and should play a bigger role if Fajardo fails to recover from plantar fasciitis on both feet which the 6-10 center said he incurred during the last PBA season.
Taulava's inclusion was only formalized on Monday noon when Baldwin personally met with the hard banging 6-9 former PBA MVP at the Moro Lorenzo Gym.
The final composition of the Gilas roster is still up in the air at this point, with SBP executive director Sonny Barrios admitting that it's still a 'work in progress' just days before the start of practice.
Abueva should be a welcome addition to the team, more so if Pingris is ruled out. 'The Beast' was previously considered for the 2013 Fiba Asia team by former national coach Chot Reyes but was ruled out because of injury.
Aside from Abueva, other players who sources said have committed to the Gilas pool are Terrence Romeo (GlobalPort), Dondon Hontiveros and Sonny Thoss (Alaska), LA Tenorio (Ginebra), Marcio Lassiter (San Miguel) and Beua Belga (Rain or Shine).
Tenorio, however, later begged off from consideration citing fatigue and poor form.