WITH the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) yet to decide on the Philippines’ request for last-minute changes in its basketball line-up, Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone has added World Cup 2023 veteran CJ Perez and four other players in time for the 19th Asian Games.
Perez, a mainstay of the Gilas Pilipians team which finished 24th in the recent FIBA World Cup 2023, will join the team, along with Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross of San Miguel Beer, Arvin Tolentino of NorthPort and Kevin Alas of NLEX.
The five players were included as possible replacements for Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Mo Tautuaa, and Terrence Romeo, whose status to play remains uncertain with only two days left before the formal opening of the Asian Games.
The four players were not in the original list of 37 players submitted by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas through the Philippine Olympic Committe to the HAGOC last summer from which the final 12-man team will be picked.
Cone said the team is expecting to hear from HAGOC in the next few days on whether Abueva and the rest will be allowed to play or not.
“Now we have five new players on the team starting today if the other four are still turned down,” Cone told PBA. com
“We hope to know that within the next 24 to 48 hours whether they’re still available. So we’re still trying different avenues to try to get them settled, but it doesn’t look good.”
Cone’s pessimism stems from the fact that the HAGOC has already turned down POC’s request for a change in the line-up in both golf and fencing competitions.
The POC, through the National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP) has appealed to organizers to replace Princess Superal with Chanelle Avaricio after the former reportedly dropped out due to conflict of schedule with her pro tournaments.
HAGOC, however, has already turned down the request, citing that replacements are allowed only due to medical reasons.
Fencing association’s similar request was also denied for the same reason.
But with or without the original players in his team, Cone expressed confidence that the team can still peform well.
“It doesn’t change our approach to how we do things. Our goal remains the same — to try to win the gold medal, “ said Cone, adding his familiarity with the new players in the team could work to their favor.
Except for Alas, all four new additions to the team have already played under Cone.
“We took Ross and Lassiter because they had a bit of a feel for us in the SEA Games. We didn’t use the triangle system as much back in the SEA Games in 2019, but we’re incorporating it more now. The defensive philosophy, system, and techniques are very familiar to them,” added the multi-titlled Barangay Ginebra mentor, referring to Ross and Lassiter,
“As to Arvin, he has experience with the triangle, so he knows it. It’s just more of a refresher for him.”