MANILA, Philippines -- Already facing tall odds in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Gilas Pilipinas' chances took another hit as Dwight Ramos is unlikely to play in their games in Belgrade, Serbia.
Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin announced Monday that Ramos is still dealing with the groin strain that he suffered during the team's campaign in the third window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.
"We're banged up. I mean there's no question we came out of the third window limping," said Baldwin.
"Dwight is not likely for either game. But 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," he explained.
Ramos emerged as a star for Gilas Pilipinas during the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, with the Ateneo de Manila University recruit averaging 13.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 2.2 assists over six games. He was the leading scorer in Gilas' 82-77 triumph over South Korea last June 20, with 19 points built on five three-pointers.
But he sat out the team's tune-up game against China ahead of the OQT after sustaining his injury.
According to Baldwin, Ramos has expressed his intention to try and play, but the coach said the player is "in no shape to try."
Also not in peak shape is big man Carl Tamayo, who suffered an ankle sprain in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
"Carl Tamayo, 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," Baldwin said.
The University of the Philippines recruit expects to push through and play in the OQT, nonetheless.
Naturalized center Ange Kouame, meanwhile, is dealing with a knee contusion that he also sustained from the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.
Even with several key players banged up, Baldwin is optimistic that the young Gilas team will put on an inspired performance.
"We are limping and these are key players. But we know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he said.
"I know that they're gonna go out there, and if they can give their best, that's what they're gonna give," he added.
Gilas plays home team Serbia at 2:15 a.m. on July 1, followed by the Dominican Republic at 2:30 a.m. on July 2.