THE injury bug bit Gilas Pilipinas hard ahead of its coming international sorties as naturalized player Angelo Kouame sustained a meniscal sprain and a partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.
The 6-foot-10 slotman is skipping the team’s friendlies against Korea set for Friday and Saturday in Korea and is now listed as a doubtful participant in the third window of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand and Manila and the FIBA Asia Cup in July in Indonesia.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas said in the wake of this development, it is “exhausting all options, including looking for a replacement” for Mr. Kouame for Gilas’ matchup with the Tall Blacks in Auckland on June 30.
Dave Ildefonso, another Gilas young gun, is nursing an ankle injury and won’t be joining the team’s Korean trip as well.
The federation, though, is optimistic that the 6-foot Ildefonso will recover in time for the away game against New Zealand and the succeeding home matchup versus India on July 3.
With the two out of commission, Kiefer Ravena, Dwight Ramos, William Navarro, Carl Tamayo, SJ Belangel, RJ Abarrientos, Geo Chiu, Lebron Lopez, Rhenz Abando and Kevin Quiambao will carry the fight for interim coach Nenad Vučinić’s youth-laden crew in Korea. — Olmin Leyba