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    Jimmy Alapag yet to commit for Asian Games as changes to Gilas lineup easier said than done

    Sep 7, 2014

    MADRID - Gilas Pilipinas hero Jimmy Alapag's entry into the lineup for the Asian Games has yet to be ironed out as coaches and management weigh changes which they admit are easier said than done.

    Alapag had declared that the Fiba World Cup would be the last for his Gilas career, but his impressive performance in Spain as well as injuries to key players had coach Chot Reyes raising the possibility of his 36-year-old guard delaying his international retirement until after the Incheon Asiad.

    Gilas manager Aboy Castro, however, said nothing has yet to come out of the talks as coaches and management figure out a way to insert him in the lineup while looking at the bigger picture.

    [See Alapag retirement will have to wait as Reyes mulls changes to Asiad team]

    Both Reyes and Alapag are still in Madrid, having stayed behind to enjoy much-deserved time with their families after a six-week journey that ended with the Philippines beating Senegal, 81-79, for the country's first victory at this level in four decades.

    "Maguusap pa sila, probably bukas," said Castro on Saturday. "Right now, wala pang final."

    Complicating Alapag's return to the Asian Games lineup is the eligibility issue surrounding Andray Blatche, with team officials conceding that any changes would largely depend on whether the NBA free agent will be allowed to play in Incheon or not.

    There are also questions in the minds of Gilas officials on how Incheon organizers will allow the Philippines to make changes to the lineup in the unfortunate event that Blatche is declared ineligible at the end of a scheduled meeting between organizers and Philippine sports officials on September 10.

    Continue reading below ↓

    If Blatche is declared ineligible, PH officials fear organizers may not allow a replacement in his place since Asiad rules only allow changes in the event of injuries or medical reasons.

    [See Fiba tells Incheon organizers Blatche should be eligible for Asian Games]

    The bigger question is on who to replace.

    Philippine officials may have to find a place in the lineup for naturalized player Douthit if Blatche is ineligible. Reyes has also named Jared Dillinger to his Asiad team even before the Spain showpiece.

    In the event Blatche is declared ineligible and Asiad organizers rule that his spot can't be filled by another naturalized player, Reyes may have to find room for either Douthit or Alapag - or both - in an 11-man lineup.

    At the moment, injuries to Jayson Castro, Paul Lee and Marc Pingris are also being assessed. Castro banged his knee in the Argentina game, Lee is dealing with plantar fasciitis on both feet, while Pingris is also nursing a foot injury.

    Reyes hinted on Thursday that any changes to the Asiad lineup will be dictated by injuries.

    "Even with a 12-man lineup, injuries can be a valid reason for changes (to the Asiad team)," said Reyes. "They saw it here in Jayson and Ping and others."

    Aside from foot injuries, there is also the matter of Lee's unresolved contract situation with Rain or Shine, with insiders raising the possibility that the crack guard may skip the Asiad if he still doesn't have a contract before the team sets sail for Incheon.

    Continue reading below ↓

    [Lee keeps open mind ahead of meeting with Yeng Guiao]

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