Gilas Pilipinas coach Tim Cone believes Jayson Castro won’t be ready in time for the 30th Southeast Asian Games due to a calf injury suffered while playing for TNT KaTropa in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Cone didn’t sound optimistic after being informed that Castro will be sidelined for at least three to four weeks due to a Soleus muscle strain sustained in the KaTropa’s 126-113 loss to the NLEX Road Warriors on Friday.
TNT team manager Gabby Cui, who also serves the same capacity with Gilas, earlier said the possibility of Castro joining the SEA Games team will depend on the speed of his recovery.
“I don’t see him being able to get ready in time,” Cone said after steering Barangay Ginebra San Miguel to a 98-89 victory over Rain or Shine Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Obviously, losing a guy like Jayson is really a huge, huge blow, but he’s one of the guys I was looking forward to be able to coach and rely on. But it was tough news, but tougher him, actually, having to come back from that,” added Cone.
While there’s a possibility of Castro make a full recovery in time for the biennial meet, Cone said plenty of factors will need to be considered in order for the veteran national team campaigner to make the final lineup.
The SEA Games kicks off Nov. 30 but basketball competitions won’t start until Dec. 4.
“I don’t see how he can,” said Cone. “If he makes the minimum time back, he’ll come back Nov. 26th, Nov. 27th and that will be like three days before the tournament starts. That if he’s healthy.
“I mean, he has to get in shape, he has to play. So, I don’t think he can. If he’s five weeks, he’s out. Six weeks, we’re already done. So, it’s basically a four to six week injury,” added Cone.
The two-time PBA Grand Slam winner is still unsure whether to pick someone to replace Castro on the 15-man pool or stick with what he has.
“We’ll talk to (orthopedic surgeon Raul Canlas) and hear what he has to say as well before we make a final ruling on whether we need to look for somebody else or consider playing without him,” Cone said.