SCHEDULING mix-ups and late invitations are just some of the reasons given by new Gilas Pilipinas invitees for their non-appearance in practices so far.
On Tuesday, people were surprised to see Arwind Santos in Gilas' practice. It turned out he was just one of several PBA players invited by national coach Chot Reyes to fill up the numbers while several members of his Gilas pool either recharge their batteries or recuperate from injuries.
Aside from Santos, also invited were Beau Belga, Chris Tiu and Paul Lee of Rain or Shine, Alex Cabagnot and Denok Miranda of Petron, KG Canaleta of Air 21, and Jay-R Reyes and Ronjay Buenafe of Meralco.
On Friday, Reyes tweeted that from the invitees, only Santos and Miranda have showed up so far.
So where are the others?
Spin.ph burned the lines in tracking down the other invitees. This is what we learned.
“Nandito ako sa Lobo, Batangas. Last week pa. Bakasyon ako with my wife and kid,” said Belga, who however is willing to join Gilas practice upon his return on Monday.
“Pwede pa kaya ako nun?" continued the burly Rain or Shine big man. "Gustong gusto ko sumali dyan. Alam mo naman 'yan, di ba?”
Belga's teammate Lee is in China for a check-up and will only return on Monday, but his girlfriend Rhubie Chua bared that the star playmaker is set to fly to California on June 1.
“Matagal na niyang na-i-book yun eh. Nanghihinayang nga siya kasi, gustong gusto rin niya mag Gilas,” said Chua. “Kaso parang hindi pinahintulutan ng panahon.”
On the other hand, rookie Tiu is pre-occupied with business dealings and his showbiz commitments, and that the Gilas invitation came a little too late to cancel all his appointments.
“Busy na busy kasi siya sa business niya. Alam naman natin yun talaga ang career niya, may showbusiness pa,” said Rain or Shine liaison officer Jay Legacion.
Rain or Shine assistant coach Mike Buendia added that Tiu is bound for Hong Kong within the week for another round of business meetings.
“Masikip ang schedule ni Chris, hindi na siguro kakayanin,” said Buendia.
Meanwhile, Cabagnot is in California where he is vacationing with his dad and brother.
“Nasa California si Alex, nuong May 8 pa umalis,” said Jun Cabagnot, his uncle. “Mga June na ang balik niya. Bakit?”
When told about the Gilas invitation, the elder Cabagnot was puzzled.
“Kasama ba siya sa Gilas? Hindi nga? Baka hindi niya alam,” said the surprised uncle.
The lone invitee from Air21, Canaleta, is on vacation and cannot be reached at the moment, but Air 21 coach Franz Pumaren hopes that his player will show up soon.
“Malamang magpakita yun, gusto niyang mag Gilas eh. Naglaro nga siya dati di ba?” said Pumaren of his cager.
Reyes was spotted vacationing in Boracay, and just returned to Manila on Friday.
“Sa Monday pupunta na ko, galing kami ng Boracay (para sa) bakasyon. Minsan lang nagkaroon ng long break eh,” said Reyes, who was joined in the trip by wife Jennifer and kids Tyler and Tiffany.
Buenafe, on the other hand, was sad not to be able to join the practices since he is sidelined by a dislocated ring finger and a sprained left shoulder.
“Wala. Malas. Gustuhin ko man, hindi pupuwede,” said Buenafe who was part of the Gilas team that played recently in Dubai and Hong Kong.