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2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers

Chot Reyes still looking at positives despite SMART Gilas being bitten by injury bug

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Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Chot Reyes still looking at positives despite SMART Gilas being bitten by injury bug 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  Chot Reyes 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers Group B

SMART Gilas Pilipinas is no stranger to adversity. And this time around, with the FIBA World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers just around the corner, the Nationals are in another tight spot, where things seemingly aren’t going their way.

“The injury bug has bitten us,” rued the outspoken mentor after SMART Gilas’ last practice — done behind closed doors yet again — in Manila on Monday night at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City. The Nationals fly out to Japan tomorrow.

Initially, it was only Jio Jalalon who was nursing a knee injury. But as the daily practices — which commenced last November 3 — progressed, prolific scorer Terrence Romeo followed suit, also nursing a bum right knee.

After that, a few more players had also become hurt. During their tune-up last November 19 versus the NLEX Road Warriors, two of their vets sat out — Jayson Castro due to back spasms and Calvin Abueva due to flu-like symptoms.

Ultimately, Raymond Almazan and Kevin Alas both became casualties as well. The athletic six-foot-seven forward sprained his ankle badly during Sunday night’s workouts, while Alas, similar to Abueva, was stricken with flu.

Both Almazan and Alas were not able to participate in SMART Gilas’ scrimmages on Monday evening, only watching their teammates from the sidelines.

“That’s just the issues we have to contend with now obviously,” said Reyes of this yet another problem hounding Gilas. “We’re leaving tomorrow.

“Hopefully we get to 100 percent, but right now we’re not a hundred percent.”

It may be yet another tough time for the flag-bearers, but Reyes had always kept his eyes looking at the brighter side of things. For the veteran internationalist, this is where the concept of having a pool of players becomes of great use.

“That’s the beauty of having a pool of 16, ‘di ba. You have situations na ‘di mo talaga maiwasan — may mai-injure, may matatapilok, may magkakasakit,” he said. “Hopefully it’s not a bug that they’re passing around to each other.

“Hopefully we have a couple of days to get 100 percent.”

And despite this current issue, Reyes remains confident with his wards’ chances as they go to the first window of the qualifiers, which will open this Friday, November 24, versus the Japanese before a hostile crowd in Tokyo.

“I like our chances because I can see, despite the injuries, despite the lack of time, I can see the players putting alot of effort and they’re very engaged,” said the multi-titled coach proudly.

“So we’ll see what happens.”

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