MANILA, Philippines - Alaska super rookie Calvin Abueva could be a late addition to the national pool that will undergo training in Lithuania as part of Gilas Pilipinas' buildup for the FIBA Asia Championship in August.
"I've long wanted him (Abueva) to be in the pool. The problem was the one-player-per-team agreement," said Gilas coach Chot Reyes hoping to include Abueva in their Lithuania trip after the Alaska management itself expressed willingness to release the prized rookie to the national pool.
"If Alaska gives its approval, we'll work on Abueva's inclusion as a replacement to Sonny Thoss," Reyes told The STAR.
With injuries to Thoss and Ryan Reyes, only 13 Gilas mainstays in Marcus Douthit, Junmar Fajardo, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Ranidel de Ocampo, Gary David, Jeff Chan, Larry Fonacier, Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood and Marc Pingris are available for the Lithuania training.
Thoss is to go to Beijing for an alternative medical treatment on his injured back.
Reyes hopes to tap Abueva as a replacement, unaware the Alaska rookie himself is set to undergo a procedure on his injured knee.
"He's been hurt from the middle of the (Commissioner's Cup) elims. He just played through his injury," said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
"He's scheduled for an operation. But it's up to the player. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I'm sure he wants to be part of it. We need to have meeting of minds and see when to schedule his operation if they (Gilas) really want him for FIBA Asia," Trillo added.
Trillo said it's a minor procedure that will take Abueva three to four weeks to be back in shape.
Coach Reyes and his charges resumed their training Tuesday with the Commissioner’s Cup over. The national hopefuls who saw action in the Commissioner’s Cup Final Four have been excluded from practices until next week.
"That's the reason why we invited some players from the PBA select team to join us in practice," said Reyes.
Non-Gilas mainstay practicing with the pool Tuesday was Arwind Santos.
"I've talked to Arwind and we've had an understanding," said Reyes, not elaborating.
Reyes is also looking forward to see the likes of Beau Belga, Paul Lee and Abueva in their practice session.
But is there a chance for these players to make the Gilas Final 12?
"Several factors – good showing in practice, approval of their teams and many more. But I don't want to say that," said Reyes.
Abueva’s case is different.
"I've long wanted to have him. I've talked to (Alaska official) Joaqui (Trillo)," said Reyes. "Hopefully, we can include him in the Lithuania trip. Yes, we've seen him in the PBA, but we want to see him with the pool playing against international teams."