VARIOUS injuries left Gilas Pilipinas with only seven healthy men practicing on-court during its once-a-week practice session at the Moro Lorenzo gym on Monday night.
Only LA Tenorio, Marc Pingris, Gabe Norwood, Calvin Abueva, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Ranidel de Ocampo, Troy Rosario participated in the drills and situational plays conducted by coach Tab Baldwin.
Present but in street clothes were big men June Mar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, and Japeth Aguilar, along with Marcio Lassiter, Jayson Castro, Paul Lee, and Jeff Chan, who joined the team only in certain aspects of the training.
“May kanya-kanyang sakit na iiniinda. But the good thing is they’re here to observe how the team works under coach Tab,” said team manager Butch Antonio while training was ongoing.
Castro re-injured his Achiles heel on Sunday night in Tropang TNT's game against Star, while Lee and Chan are both nursing injuries on their knee and feet, respectively.
Not around were Terrence Romeo (bruised calf), Ryan Reyes, and Ian Sangalang.
Baldwin just shrugged off the worsening injury situation of the team, noting he could do nothing about it.
“It’s the nature of the game. If it didn’t happen I will be the most shocked person in the world,” said the 57-year-old coach. “We can’t select who that will be or what are the chances of recovery if that does happen.”
At the moment, Baldwin said he’s not worried that more than half of the 17-man pool are sitting around and watching the rest of the team practice.
“Ask me again in May and let’s look at the injury situation then,” he said.
But Baldwin admitted the health of the players will have a say on who makes the team or not for the Manila leg of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament set July 5-10.
“These are the things that injuries impact. They don’t just affect who you select, they affect the broader selection of the team because they skew the ability of the team in whatever particular direction, whether it be rebounding, transition offense or defense. That’s where injury has an impact on basketball,” he said.