Source : June Navarro Philippine Daily Inquirer
He considers it as a big blow, but Smart Gilas Pilipinas coach Rajko Toroman may be forced to exclude the injured JV Casio from the final 12-man lineup for the Fiba Asia Championship which starts Thursday.
The dynamic point guard, the PBA’s top rookie pick, hurt his knee in the William Jones Cup in Taipei last month and wasn’t able to play in tuneup games against Qatar and Jordan last week.
“We have some doubts if JV could play,” said Toroman, who is to submit the final 12-man Philippine roster during the manager’s meeting Wednesday.
The Nationals arrived in Wuhan yesterday with 14 players for the 2012 London Olympic qualifier.
Toroman also has to decide who between forwards Mac Baracael and Dylan Ababou would be dropped from the squad.
“We will monitor JV’s status during practice today (last night) and tomorrow (today),” said Toroman. “If he says he won’t be ready, he won’t be ready. But if he is up to it, he’ll be in the lineup.”
According to Toroman, the 6-foot-3 Baracael, who got used to playing as an undersized power forward, has to slide to the wings, Ababou’s comfort zone.
“We changed Baracael’s position because we now have three power forwards,” said Toroman. “We’ll discuss and decide who will fit us more.”
Completing the PH roster are PBA stars Asi Taulava, Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel De Ocampo and Kelly Williams, mainstays Japeth Aguilar, team captain Chris Tiu, Mark Barroca, Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter and center Marcus Douthit.
In an interview during the team’s final practice at the Meralco gym on Monday, Casio said he’s 90 percent ready.
“I’m still undergoing therapy everyday,” said Casio, selected No. 1 overall by the Powerade Tigers in the recent PBA Draft. “This is the tournament that we’ve all been waiting for. I don’t want to miss this one.”
Bracketed in Group D in the opening round, the Filipinos will begin their stint against United Arab Emirates tomorrow.
MANILA, Philippines—Naturalized center Marcus Douthit, Ateneo standouts Greg Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena, and Bobby Ray Parks Jr. headline the provisional 12-man lineup for the national basketball team seeing action in the Southeast Asian Games in November.
Crack guards RR Garcia of Far Eastern U and Ronald Pascual of San Sebastian, San Beda teammates Garvo Lanete and Jake Pascual, Ateneo’s Emman Monfort and Nico Salva, and Fil-Ams Clifford Hodge and Chris Ellis of PBA D-League champion NLEx Road Warriors are also on the roster submitted by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to the Philippine Olympic Committee.
But SBP executive director Sonny Barrios, who announced the list at the PSA Forum yesterday, clarified that the lineup is still subject to changes.
“There is a possibility that we can add or drop from the team,” Barrios said at the weekly forum presented by Smart, Pagcor, Outlast Battery and Accel at Shakey’s UN Avenue.
“Nobody is casting anything in stone.”
Also among the candidates for the team that will be coached by Norman Black are Smart Gilas stalwart Chris Tiu, Aldrech Ramos, Calvin Abueva, Jerick Fortuna and Kevin Alas.
The Filipinos are the defending champions in the November 12 to 22 tournament after the team bannered by Gabe Norwood, Jason Castro, Jervy Cruz and Beau Belga bagged the crown in Thailand in 2007.
Barrios is also confident of a strong showing by the Filipinos in the Fiba Asia Championship.
Barrios said a top five finish by the Nationals will be “reasonable.”
PILIPINAS-SMART GILAS SCHEDULE FOR FIBA ASIA 2011
Sept. 15 : Philippines vs. UAE - 6:00 PM on BTV ; 7:00 PM on AKTV [ slightly delayed ]
Sept. 16: Philippines vs. China - 8:00 PM on BTV ; 9:00 PM on AKTV [ slightly delayed ]
Sept. 17: Philippines vs. Bahrain - 11:00 am on BTV ; 7:00 PM on AKTV [ delayed ]