Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone is keeping his fingers crossed, hoping that Calvin Abueva and Jason Perkins will be given the green light to see action in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Cone seeks to have the two forwards cleared to be in the final 12 of his roster for the prestigious continental tourney set from 23 September to 8 October.
The two were not in the initial list of names submitted to the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee.
“We’ve still got Perk (Perkins) and Calvin Abueva who are not 100 percent sure — 100 percent sure on the team if they are allowed to be on the team,” Cone said after Gilas held its first training day Monday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel mentor, who called the shots for the national team that came up with an Asian Games bronze medal in 1998 in Bangkok, is hoping to have two forwards in the squad after both Jamie Malonzo and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser crashed with injuries.
Malonzo suffered a back injury during his stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the World Cup while Ganuelas-Rosser is still nursing a foot injury after competing in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.
“They weren’t on the original list of the 60 that was submitted. (But) because of Jamie’s injury and Brandon’s injury, we’re asking for a ruling if we can replace them with Calvin and Perk,” Cone added.
“We’re not gonna know (about the ruling) until maybe we hear maybe Friday or Saturday something like that. They’re willing to continue to practice with us with the opportunity. But if they do come through, they will be in. If not, we’re gonna have to look for replacements, which we have not done.”
The inclusion of Abueva and Perkins will not only add talent and energy to Gilas but would also fill up the positions that Cone said his team are missing.
“We’re really keeping our fingers crossed that Jason and Calvin (will get through) because that’s the two positions we don’t really have,” Cone said.
“I mean that position, those two guys, we don’t really have that three and four guys.”
“And if we can get them then that makes us more versatile because that means we can move Justin (Brownlee) around to different positions,” Cone added.
“But without them, we’re really guard heavy or big heavy. We don’t have the
in-between guys. So, Calvin and Perk are really important to us so hopefully we can get them in.”
Aside from Abueva, who is looking to finally make his national duty return since getting suspended for his participation in a bench-clearing brawl with Australia back in 2018, and Perkins, 11 other players showed up in Gilas’ first practice.
Present were FIBA World Cup holdovers June Mar Fajardo, Scottie Thompson, Japeth Aguilar and RR Pogoy, who was in street clothes and did not join the workout.
Naturalized players Brownlee and Ange Kouame, Chris Newsome, Calvin Oftana, Terrence Romeo, Mo Tautuaa and Stanley Pringle were also in attendance.
Pringle will serve as the designated Gilas alternate player.
“Stanley is here as an alternate, as a 13th man. He’s alternate in case anything happens. In case Calvin and Perk can’t make it, he’ll be one of the guys that can replace them in the lineup or in case somebody gets injured or such,” Cone said.
“He’s here especially because he knows the system and everything. He was a logical choice for us and he’s willing to be here with the idea that he may not make the 12. But at this point he’s an alternate,” he added.