FIBA: Dwight Ramos among players to watch in Belgrade qualifiers


Posted at Jun 27 2021 06:26 PM

FIBA: Dwight Ramos among players to watch in Belgrade qualifiers 1
Gilas Pilipinas star Dwight Ramos.

MANILA - Gilas Pilipinas standout Dwight Ramos earned an honorable mention as one of the must-watch players in the upcoming FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia.

The honor comes after Ramos had a solid outing in the third and final window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga where he helped the Philippines complete a sweep of Group A.

In two games against South Korea and one against Indonesia, the 22-year-old Ramos averaged 15 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and two assists per contest.

On its website, FIBA noted of Ramos: "He is the go-to guy in the new Gilas generation, which is still on a mission to find a new leader after legendary Andray Blatche."

"Dwight's numbers and games in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers show that he is on a good way to follow the path blazed by his countrymate."

Ramos, who has yet to play UAAP basketball for Ateneo de Manila University, will look to lead a young Gilas team in the FIBA OQT where they will take on hosts Serbia and the Dominican Republic in the group stage.

But according to Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin, there is a "major concern" regarding Ramos as he sustained a groin strain during the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. The injury kept him out of the team's tune-up against China before they left for Belgrade.

"We're just not seeing any improvement in the groin muscle. It's been four days now since he got the injury, and you know, the trip doesn't help. The travel and the airplane, that doesn't help the muscle problems," Baldwin said on "The Chasedown," Saturday.

"So we have to see if it will settle down in the next few days. I'm guardedly pessimistic, actually, not optimistic. But there's really no point in trying to make an assessment in something that could change overnight," he added.

Aside from Ramos, also earning the FIBA spotlight is Vasilije Micic of Serbia, the Most Valuable Player of the Euroleague. 

Serbia is widely considered to be the favorite to qualify for the Tokyo Games, even with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic opting not to play. Micic will have a big role for the team in the qualifiers after averaging 15.6 points and 4.6 assists per game in the Euroleague.

Italy's Nicolo Melli was also tabbed as a must-watch player, especially for an Azzuri squad that is missing some of its usual standouts including Danilo Gallinari and Marco Bellineli.

Senegal's Pierria Henry also made the list, while Michael Torres Cuevas of the Dominican Republic and Gian Clavell of Puerto Rico got an honorable mention as well.

Another Serbian player, Ognjen Dobric, was also highlighted as he is expected to step up for the home team that is missing its usual core of players. 

The Philippines plays Serbia early on July 1, with the game set to tip-off at 2:15 a.m. They take on the Dominican Republic the next day at 2:30 a.m.


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