Cebuano forward Carl Tamayo and naturalized player Angelo Kouame will both be in action when the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team takes on powerhouse Serbia in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade on early Thursday morning.
One player that Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin has all but ruled out is star wingman Dwight Ramos, whose injured groin has yet to fully heal.
“I don’t see anyway that Dwight will be able to play either game,” shared Baldwin in an appearance on the SMART Sports Hoops Life episode on Tuesday night. “He is getting a little bit better the last couple of days, but groin injuries are entirely unpredictable.”
Baldwin revealed that the versatile 6-foot-5 wingman suffered the injury during their second match against South Korea in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. Despite the injury, Ramos still finished the game and ended up with 19 points, five assists, three rebounds, and two steals.
“Dwight got his injury during the second Korea game and he finished the game, played until the end. I knew he was hurting a little bit because he was rubbing it during timeouts late in the game. And I asked him, ‘Are you okay? and he said, ‘I’m fine’,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin added that he and the rest of the coaching staff something was amiss with the Ramos’ injury the very next day. However, they were under the belief that since he was able to play through it, all he needed was a few days’ worth of rest. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
“By the next day, we knew something was wrong. But because he had played through it, the thinking was this was just going to last for a couple of days, he should be coming right? So we never not considered bringing him,” said Baldwin.
The good news for the Gilas is that the 6-foot-7 Tamayo and the 6-foot-10 Kouame will both be seeing action in this tournament. Tamayo suffered an ankle sprain in the game against Indonesia in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers while Kouame is nursing a sore knee.
“Ange Kouame and Carl Tamayo are very much on the road to recovery. They’ll both play,” said Baldwin.
“They both are not 100% but I think that’s good enough. We’ll be able to use them. We’ll be able to rely on them and I think they’ll give their best. If there is any reduction in their effectiveness, I don’t think it’s going to be very much,” he added.
Tip off in the game versus Serbia is at 2:15 a.m. on Thursday. The Gilas won’t have much rest or preparation time as they battle the Dominican Republic on July 2 at 2:30 a.m. (JNP)