Dwight Ramos is not expected to suit up for the Philippines in its must-win game against the Dominican Republic in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Friday in Belgrade, Serbia.
This, as the swingman is still recovering from a groin injury that has already kept him from playing against the host nation.
"I don't think Dwight's gonna be ready tomorrow," Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin said after the Philippines succumbed to Serbia, 83-76, on Thursday.
"He's got a groin injury, it's a muscle strain. And we didn't think it was serious in the beginning, and it just hasn't responded at all," the coach explained.
Ramos sustained the injury during the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers in Clark, Pampanga, where Gilas Pilipinas went 3-0. The Ateneo de Manila University recruit averaged 15 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and two assists per contest in the third and final window.
Without Ramos, Gilas still gave Serbia a massive scare as they only trailed by three points with a minute to play before Dallas Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic towed the home team to victory.
According to Baldwin, Ramos' injury worsened after their flight to Belgrade.
"It's just one of those things, you never know with groin muscles, how they'll respond," he said.
Ramos had expressed his willingness to try and play ahead of the Serbia game, but Baldwin made it clear they do not intend to take any chances with the player's health, especially with the FIBA Asia Cup on the horizon.
"We don't want to take chances of that (the injury) recurring," said Baldwin.
"We have a big tournament coming up in August, and we need him fully fit, back to training in a few weeks. So, he can't play right now, and we certainly don't want to rush him," he said.
Gilas Pilipinas plays the Dominican Republic at 2:30 a.m. on Friday, Manila time.