As basketball fans wait for Chot Reyes to reveal the Gilas final 12 that will play against Japan on Friday, the national coach admitted injuries to several players will influence their decision in the end.
“We already have several names, a core, in our minds. But to name that final lineup is going to be a last-minute decision,” Reyes said.
While anybody in the current Gilas pool can be a shoo-in, given the things they contribute, big man Raymond Almazan hurt his ankle over the weekend in practice, Jayson Castro has been dealing with back spasms, while Kevin Alas has just recovered from fever.
“Malapit-lapit na sana. Pero ang problema nga, na-injure si Almazan. Nagkasakit si Kevin. And then, hindi rin 100 percent si Jayson. Lahat ‘yun may impact sa final decision,” the Gilas mentor added.
Terrence Romeo, the top gunner of Gilas in the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon last August, failed to make it to Japan due to a knee injury, while Andray Blatche just joined the team last Sunday.
The past 2 days in Tokyo, Reyes has kept Gilas practices closed door, while informing Filipino fans working there of a specific time for a meet and greet Wednesday through his Instagram account @coachot.
Reyes is expected to reveal the final 12 on the eve of their FIBA World Cup qualifiers match against Japan.
After Japan, Gilas leaves Tokyo shortly and will head back to Manila where the national squad next faces Chinese Taipei on Nov. 27 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Photo courtesy of Chooks-to-Go and Joaqui Flores