FIBA Asian Qualifiers 2019 World Cup News: Gilas Pilipinas will battle a full strength Australia Boomers tomorrow Thursday minus ace Filipino Jayson Castro William. Castro recently injured his ankle during a game with Talk N Text KaTropa against Phoenix Fuel Masters last February 7 in the PBA. Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas will have to shoulder the pointguard duties for the FIBA Asian Qualifiers to the 2019 World Cup as Jio Jalalon was also relegated to the reserved list.
“As of yesterday, he (Castro) tried to go hard in last night’s practice and still, he was not there at all so we decided it wasn’t worth the risk. So Jayson is going to sit out together with Jio (Jalalon), who is also feeling slight pain in his legs. We decided to play the guys not experiencing any nagging injuries at this point,” confirmed Reyes via Sports5 Facebook live video stream.
The absence of “The Blur” Castro, once the Best Point Guard of Asia, leaves a big hole to the campaign of the Philippine Basketball team. His innate ability to slash and penetrate inside opponent defense will surely be missed. “The Phenom” Kiefer Ravena will have to bring in his bag of tricks to make-up for the loss of Castro. He will have to team-up with point veteran Kevin Alas to steer Pilipinas Basketball as Jio Jalalon will also sit out due to injury.
Meanwhile, “The Beast” Calvin Abueva is back to the Gilas fold as head coach Chot Reyes gave the green light to the fiery Kapampangan forward to return to the RP Five lineup. Abueva was previously axed from the roster together with beanpole Raymund Almazan after missing the Gilas first three practices. Nevertheless, Calvin proved his worth to the team as he attended the subsequent training sessions even without the assurance of inclusion.
Coach Chot announced the reentry of Abueva as Troy Rosario and Mac Belo were placed on the reserved list also due to injuries. “Since then, even he (Abueva) knew he was not going to be in the final 12 for the second window, he never missed any practice, he did what we asked of him, whether as a practice player or member of the scouting team,” Reyes said.
Gilas Pilipinas full line-up includes Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Abu Tratter, Kiefer Ravena, Kevin Alas, Matthew Wright, Roger Pogoy, Japeth Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, Allein Maliksi, Gabe Norwood and Carl Bryan Cruz.