MANILA, Philippines-National coach Chot Reyes has ruled Jordan Heading out of Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the FIBA World Cup here next month.
The development was revealed to reporters on Monday night shortly after the training group’s practice session at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.
Heading, who was originally part of the 21-man talent pool that features overseas activists and Philippine Basketball Association prominent figures, will no longer join the preparations due to a persistent back problem, according to the director of the team, Butch Antonio.
Heading last played for Gilas in the sixth window of the World Cup Qualifiers that pitted the Philippines against Lebanon and then Jordan. The Nationals split that schedule, prevailing over the Cedars at Philippine Arena in Bulacan.
Heading’s last professional stop was with Nagasaki Velca, the Japan B.League, where other national team standouts like Kiefer Ravena and Ray Parks Jr. are plying their trades.
Antonio said the Fil-Aussie sharpshooter, who also served on the Philippines youth team, is continuing to rehabilitate his back after a long season in the B.League.
De Cabeza played 56 games with Velca during the 2022-2023 season, averaging 13.4 points, 3.6 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals.
Heading’s absence is Gilas’ second official loss. Versatile striker Carl Tamayo, who also plays for Japan, was the first to withdraw from World Cup preparations, citing a knee problem.
Since then, the Gilas think tank has expressed a willingness to expand its talent pool, and the PBA has also affirmed its continued support for the cause of national programs should the need arise.
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