Days before the all-important FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament commences in July, Dwight Ramos, Angelo Kouame and Carl Tamayo have become the additions to the growing injury list of Gilas Pilipinas.
The injury bug that has bitten the national team hard came at the worst time possible, much to the dismay of head coach Tab Baldwin.
“We are not as healthy as we want to be," the multi-titled tactician said in a press conference from Belgrade on Monday (June 28).
Baldwin admitted that the chances are bleak for Ramos to suit up in Belgrade. The promising Ateneo point guard, who spearheaded the Philippines in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers with averages of 15.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 2.0 assists, is nursing a lingering groin injury back to health.
"Dwight is not likely for either game," the American-Kiwi mentor expressed.
"Things can change overnight, but with a groin injury, it's not common. Usually these things drag on, and that's what we seem to be experiencing."
"Dwight has already said to me that he wants to try, but he's just in no shape to try so," he continued.
Unlike the fate of Ramos for the Belgrade OQT, hope is still alive for Tamayo to return in time from an injury he sustained on his left ankle during the Gilas-Indonesia bout on June 18.
"I wouldn't say he's had a setback, but I would say that now that he's trying to go full speed, he's experiencing quite a bit of discomfort in the ankle, but I think that he'll push through," Baldwin said of the promising Tamayo.
Meanwhile, Kouame, the Ivorian-native who was recently naturalized as a Filipino, is fighting through a minor knee injury he incurred in the Clark window.
"Ange Kouame is nursing his deep knee bruise, a deep knee contusion that he got in the third window and he's not at full speed," he revealed.
In relation to the recent slew of injuries, Gilas has also had to deal with similar setbacks in the past several months.
Back in November of 2020, Allyn Bulanadi dislocated his right shoulder which has kept him away from the game since then. Then at the onset of June, Gilas bared that Matt Nieto (Broken hand), Dave Ildefonso (Deep bone bruise on foot), and Rey Suerte (Ankle sprain) hit a snag in practice.
Still, despite a string of unfortunate events, Baldwin believes that Gilas will still put up a fight for the Philippines when it faces Serbia and Dominican Republic on July 1 and 2, respectively.
"We are limping and these are key players, but we know that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity," he remarked.
"We know that they're going to go out there. And if they can give their best, that's what they're going to give."
Ohmer Bautista is a sports journalist who has covered local and international sporting events in the Philippines. The views expressed are his own.
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