Gilas Pilipinas will be missing some key pieces when the team flies to Spain on August 4 for a week-long buildup in preparation for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio said that up to four players won't be able to make the camp since they'll still be playing for the title in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals.
The semifinals could end as early July 31, but Gilas might miss more players if the Rain or Shine vs. San Miguel series extends to a Game 5, which will be played on August 3.
"There'll only be two teams in the championship. At most, there'll be four players from the pool that will not be included in the trip to Spain. But once they come back from Spain, the full team should be ready to practice. Of course, we don't know who the two teams will be in the finals," Panlilio said in a press conference for the World Cup trophy tour on Friday in Pasig.
The national team will possibly miss San Miguel's June Mar Fajardo, TNT's Roger Pogoy and Troy Rosario, Rain or Shine's Gabe Norwood and Beau Belga, and Barangay Ginebra's Japeth Aguilar and Stanley Pringle.
Per team manager Gabby Cui, Gilas will be playing a total of four games in Spain. The Philippine contingent will take on Congo on August 6 and Ivory Coast on August 7 in Guadalajara.
Gilas will then travel to Malaga for the pocket tourney, where the team will face Congo once more on August 9. A possible match-up with Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio and the rest of Spain's national team on August 10 is on the table, but that depends on whether Gilas wins and whether Spain can beat Ivory Coast.
The national team will return to the Manila on August 12, where a full lineup can finally be expected. But Gilas will still miss the services of Marcio Lassiter, who is out recovering from an MCL sprain.
Despite his absence, coach Yeng Guiao said the team will not add a new player to the pool in hopes of a "minor miracle" speeding up Lassiter's recovery.
"We named 19 players in the pool originally. As of now, in consultation with our coaching staff and SBP, we have not decided to add anybody," Guiao said. "We're still not giving up on Marcio. I was informed that it would take around six weeks for him to get back, so we're hoping that there's a minor miracle that can happen, maybe he can get back in three or four weeks and that's going to be enough time for him to be with us. We're not totally giving up on him, we are already going to prepare a contingency plan just in case he doesn't make it."