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No Scottie, but 16 players show up at Gilas training restart

Gilas Pilipinas assistant coach Tim Cone gives pointers to the players during the live three-on-three defensive drills as part of the training of Gilas Pilipinas on Thursday night at the Meralco Gym. (Photo by Rey Joble)

A total of 16 players, including three who are part of the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the FIBA World Cup, showed up on a rainy Thursday night at the Meralco Gym as the national team aspirants resumed their training sessions.

It was an encouraging sight to see Ray Parks, Calvin Oftana and Roger Pogoy, three players who were unable to join the training camp in Manila, Laguna, Estonia and Lithuania over the past month due to separate injuries.

But reigning Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson, who fractured his right ring finger, was nowhere in the venue.

Parks had just recovered from an injured hand and was back in harness during the restart of the training session as Gilas continue their build up for the World Cup.

“I was doing rehab for my hand. The injury happened in March, but I’m slowly getting back,” said the second generation son of Philippine Basketball Association Hall of Famer and seven-time Best Import, the late Bobby Parks.

But Parks, a star player of the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins in the Japan B. League, wasn’t the only one excited to return as TNT stalwarts Pogoy and Oftana had also rejoined the pool.

Sidelined by a fractured pinky for nearly three months, Pogoy participated in the training except during the live drills as he has yet to fully recover from the injury.

“Roger was only able to join in the shooting drills. He cannot receive a direct pass, so in the shooting drills, he can only receive a pass coming off a bounce pass or hand it off to him, but he cannot catch a direct, strong chest pass,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes.

Oftana, a member of Gilas’ redemption squad that won the gold medal in the recent Cambodia Southeast Asian Games, was also present during the workout. It was his first live drills with the aspirants since playing in the national team’s first game in the biennial meet’s basketball game against Malaysia last month in a game where he also injured his calf and couldn’t finish the remainder of the tournament.

The 6-foot-5, former Most Valuable Player of the National Collegiate Athletic Association returned stronger and ready to fight for a spot in the World Cup.

Even Dwight Ramos, who injured his knee during the training in Lithuania, showed up and participated in the live drills even Filipino-Cypriot AJ Edu, the 6-foot-10 forward and newest member of the Gilas program, who wasn’t able to play in the tune up matches in their European joust, was also able to showcase his stuff.

These players were joined by the other members of the pool on Thursday.

Present in the workout were naturalized players Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame, mainstays June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar, Jamie Malonzo, Chris Newsome, B. League players Kiefer and Thirdy Ravena, Korean Basketball League sensation Rhenz Abando and Poy Erram.






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