MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes on Tuesday sought to clarify Calvin Abueva’s situation with the national team, after reports surfaced that “The Beast” is officially back among the pool of active players.
Abueva, along with Raymond Almazan, was dropped from the list of players who can play for Gilas in the second window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers later this month.
This, after both players missed the first three practice days of 2018. Abueva, who had been dealing with some problems in his family, attended practice the week after he was dropped, but Almazan has yet to show up in training.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Abueva was officially back in the active pool, meaning he will be in consideration for a spot in the final 12-man lineup when Gilas plays against Australia and Japan on February 22 and 25, respectively.
However, Reyes made it clear that while Abueva is still part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool, there is no certainty that he will be considered for a spot in the final 12 later this month.
“He’s still part of the pool. He continues to come and practice as part of the pool, just like everybody else here,” said Reyes after Gilas Pilipinas wrapped up its training on Tuesday evening at Meralco Gym.
“We took him out of the consideration for the second window, but he has remained part of the pool.
“And I’ve always said: people can play themselves into consideration, into the pool and out of the pool, or out of consideration. There’s no change there. 'Wag tayo excited.”
In any case, it is too early for Reyes to make any definitive statements as to who will make it to the 12-man lineup. He is still taking stock of the national team’s injury situation, with players such as Troy Rosario and Mac Belo both dealing with injuries that may prevent them from playing.
“We haven’t made any decisions either way because we’re still assessing the injury status of the other guys so we’re not yet in a position to make any final decisions or determinations sa lineup,” said Reyes.
Abueva said he will make the most of the opportunity that was given to him by Reyes.
“Sa akin nga, ginagawa ko lang 'yung best ko dito. Sayang rin na mag-skip ka sa second window kaya mahalaga sa akin ito,” said Abueva.
Abueva was a major factor in the Philippines’ wins over Japan and Chinese-Taipei in the first qualifying window late last year. A part of the Gilas bench mob, he changed the pace of the games with his trademark hustle and energy.
If Reyes puts him in the final 12-man lineup, Abueva vows to again provide the same spark that has made him such a valuable member of the national team in the past.
“Actually, kung ano ang pinapakita ko ngayon, 'yung best na pinakita ko, kung ano 'yung sa first window, ganu'n pa rin. Kulang kulang ang mga players, may mga injured, kung mapasama ako, malaking bagay sa akin 'yun. Dodoblehin ko 'yung effort ko,” promised Abueva.
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