Barangay Ginebra coach Jong Uichico is worried that the banged-up Pilipinas-Smart Gilas team may turn out to become a walking wounded squad once the national squad starts its bid for a possible Olympic berth in the FIBA Asia Championship in August.
“I’m worried about the team’s health condition," Uichico, a former national team coach, told GMA News. “I don’t know why they are still continuing to field in their injured players. Baka naman kapag dumating yung time na lalaro na tayo sa FIBA Asia Championship, halos wala na tayong mabunot na healthy players."
Baka naman kapag dumating yung time na lalaro na tayo sa FIBA Asia Championship, halos wala na tayong mabunot na healthy players."
Marcus Douthit, Gilas’ lone solid presence in the interior, suffered a fractured hand. Mark Barroca, a dependable guard, sprained his ankle in Game 2 of the best-of-five series between the Gin Kings and the Nationals and is a doubtful starter for Game 3. Team skipper Chris Tiu sustained an old shoulder injury and Marcio Lassiter had a sprained finger.
Gilas' assistant coach Charles Tiu said the injuries are not serious, which means they can still suit up for Wednesday's Game 3.
"Marcus' injury is serious because it's a fractured hand while the other two is just minor injuries. The two will still play," said Tiu in a private message via Twitter.
But for Uichico, he believes the team should rest the injured players and preserve them for the tougher battles ahead in the Asian tournaments.
“I’m concerned about them, it’s because I also want them to do good and earn a spot in the Olympics. I’ve been in their situation before, and it’s really hard to lose a key player," added the veteran mentor, whose team suffered a heart-breaking setback against the Koreans in the 2002 Asian Games that cost them a seat in the championship round.
Uichico is speaking based on experience.
“There was a time in 2002, we played Qatar in an exhibition game. Walang kalatoy-latoy na laro ‘yun because paalis na kami papuntang Busan. We just wanted to have an international feel, so we played them in an exhibition game and then the unthinkable happened. Danny Seigle suffered a severe injury in his Achilles tendon, which caused him to miss the Asiad. He could have been a big difference in our campaign. How I wish he was there to help us," added Uichico.
A protégé of Ron Jacobs, who also served as assistant coach to Norman Black, Chot Reyes, and Yeng Guiao in the Asian Games basketball event and FIBA Asia Championships, Uichico believes staying healthy as a unit is their best chance to earn an Olympic berth.
“If they are healthy, they have a good chance. But right now, they need to rest those hurting players, especially with the squad participating in another tough tournament next month, the FIBA Asia Champions Cup," said Uichico. “I’m sure, the objective really is to play in the FIBA Asia Championship and hope to get a seat in the Olympics." - KY, Rey Joble, GMA News
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
S. Gilas' health condition a concern for Uichico
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