Brgy. Ginebra stars Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar together with TNT big man Poy Erram have been stricken off the Gilas Pilipinas pool for the basketball competition of the upcoming SEA Games which is set in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on May 9 to 16.
Gin Kings head coach and national team deputy Tim Cone confirmed that Aguilar and Thompson won’t be playing in the regional biennial meet due to health and family concerns.
“We tested Japeth, and he’s not ready to go. His target is to get to the World Cup, but he’s not going to be available for the SEA Games,” explained Cone.
“Japeth really wanted to play, but he’s not recovered his explosiveness yet and he still got same pain (on his knee). They’re afraid that if he goes in and out of the line up, the games are too fast and too quick, he can’t have that recovery time,” he added.
Thompson, on the other hand, has to attend to his pregnant wife, Jinky, who is expected to give birth around the second week of May.
But while the duo won’t be available for the SEA Games, Cone said that they’ll be back in training with Gilas on June 1 in preparation for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Gilas head coach Chot Reyes, meanwhile, ruled out Erram as the former Ateneo center is still recovering from a knee operation which he had back in February.
“Si Erram is not 100 percent, he’s far from 100 percent. If we play him, we’ll be exposing him to a lot of risk,” said Reyes.
The absence of the two big leaves Christian Standhardinger, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, Mason Amos and brothers Ben and Michael Philips to man the paint for the national team.
Gilas will leave for Cambodia on May 6 with the ultimate goal of reclaiming the basketball gold which the country relinquished to Indonesia during the previous staging of the SEA Games in Vietnam.