A Gilas Pilipinas squad that is missing some key pieces will be leaving for Estonia tonight to open the second leg of its preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup that the country will host from 25 August to 10 September.
Naturalized player Ange Kouame and Josh Reyes will not join the team in their 9 p.m. flight to Estonia, where they are set to open a training camp following a series of closed-door workouts at the Inspire Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas decided not to include Kouame in anticipation for the return of its other naturalized player, Justin Brownlee, who skipped the first leg of their training at the Inspire Sports Academy after undergoing a non-basketball medical procedure.
Brownlee will rejoin Gilas Pilipinas when it lands in Estonia, where it is set to face the national teams of Latvia, Finland and Lithuania.
Kouame is back to working out with Ateneo de Manila University, which is looking to defend its title in Season 86 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
Also missing the trip will be Reyes — the son of head coach Chot Reyes.
Reyes had been delegated to coach the Gilas Pilipinas under-16 squad, which is in deep preparation for the coming Southeast Asia Basketball Association tourney set in Indonesia from 15 to 19 July.
Reyes said the SEABA tournament wasn’t originally included in the calendar, but organizers decided to push it through at the last minute that disrupted the calendar of teams, including the Philippines.
With Kouame and Reyes out, Gilas will be flying with Scottie Thompson, Jamie Malonzo, Japeth Aguilar, June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, Chris Newsome, Poy Erram, Dwight Ramos, Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena and AJ Edu and Rhenz Abando.