Gilas Pilipinas frontcourt woes continue as Aguilar & Erram ruled out of SEA Games

Erram (left) and Aguilar will not be playing for Gilas in the upcoming SEA Games (FIBA/Japeth Aguilar Facebook)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team’s frontcourt depth will still be in question heading into the 2023 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) after the veteran big men duo of Japeth Aguilar and Poy Erram were ruled out of the prestigious tournament.

The development was confirmed last April 30, 2023 after head coach Chot Reyes and assistant coach Tim Cone announced the latest news in the build-up of their final roster.

Aguilar, the current superstar power forward of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, is still nursing a medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury in his knee that kept him out in the last stretch of their PBA Governor’s Cup campaign.

Despite seeing action in inconsistent minutes during the grand finals against the TNT Tropang Giga, Aguilar’s presence with the national team was officially shut down when he was tested during one of Gilas’ practice sessions.

According to Cone, Aguilar is still not ready and is still far from 100 %, the reason why he won’t be traveling with the team to Cambodia on May 6, 2023.

Meanwhile, Erram, who is still fresh from a PBA championship title when they defeated Aguilar and the Gin Kings, is also not yet ready due to his knee issues.

Erram underwent a knee operation last February and is still bound for his last phase of recovery in order to return to the playing court.

The absence of both veteran big men will pose tons of problems for Gilas as PBA’s only six-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) June Mar Fajardo will also not be with the team.

Fajardo, who was a dominant force for Gilas during the last SEA Games men’s basketball tournament campaign when they won the silver medal, is still recovering from a torn MCL in his left knee.

Since injuring his MCL last March, San Miguel’s medical team announced that the big man will have at least six weeks of recovery period and will have to undergo minor rehabilitation before participating in full 5-on-5 team drills.

The initial big man pool of the current Gilas roster are Christian Standhardinger, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, and Mason Amos.