Blackwater rookie Mac Belo is still part of the 25-man pool of Gilas Pilipinas; according to head coach Chot Reyes.
But whether he will be part of the squad that will be competing in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship next month, that’s another story.
The former Far Eastern University standout was relegated to a spectator in the Gilas Pilipinas’ training session on Monday at the Meralco gym after suffering a meniscus tear on his left knee that will sidelined him for at least four weeks.
“He (Belo) is not officially out yet. He is still part of the 25-man pool, but his inclusion for the SEABA Championship remains to be seen. It depends on how he recovers from his injury,” Reyes told The Manila Times on Tuesday.
“If he’s just going to miss four to six weeks, there’s still a chance for him to play,” he added.
Elite team manager Johnson Martinez, this early, made Belo doubtful for the SEABA tournament, slated on May 12 to 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The tourney is the qualifier for the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon.
“We’re still scheduling his (Belo) surgery,” said Martinez. “But I doubt if he can play in May for SEABA.”
Blackwater’s injury list continues to grow with Belo, Arthur dela Cruz (Achilles tendon) and JP Erram (anterior cruciate ligament injury) missing the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Dela Cruz is also part of the Gilas pool but suffered the injury at the start of the PH 5 training session in Tagaytay.
Reyes said he would begin the daily practices for Gilas pool after the Holy Week or on the first day of May. Naturalized player Andray Blatche is also expected to join the pool once he finishes his playing commitment in China.
JOSEF T. RAMOS