Monday, 11 April 2011

Gilas begs off from Gov Cup

Posted by chardyboy on Monday, April 11, 2011 0 comments

source: By Joaquin Henson / The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Arriving at a consensus ahead of schedule, Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman said yesterday the national team management has decided to forgo playing in the PBA Governors Cup for the players to take a respite before plunging into battle for an Olympic ticket in September.

Toroman conferred with Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Manny V. Pangilinan and vice chairman Ricky Vargas last Saturday on Gilas’ playing schedule preparatory to the FIBA-Asia Championships in Wuhan, China, on Sept. 15-25.

“We are grateful to the PBA for the invitation to play in the Governors Cup,” said Toroman. “The experience we are getting from participating in the Commissioner’s Cup is invaluable and it will go a long way in making our team ready for the final push. But because of our commitment to play in the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup from May to June, we may not be mentally and physically prepared to compete in the Governors Cup. We will probably need a 10 to 15 day rest after the Champions Cup.”
Toroman said if Gilas plays in the Governors Cup, it will mean non-stop competition for seven to eight months.

“In the PBA, you have to play eight or nine teams with a very high skill level for about three months,” said Toroman. “You open yourself up to a situation where some of your players could get hurt.

Take Marcus (Douthit), for instance. He injured his right hand in our last game of the eliminations in the Commissioner’s Cup. We want our players to be in the best shape possible not only for the FIBA-Asia Championships but also for the PBA. We owe the PBA a lot and it will be an injustice if we are not able to play our best in the Governors Cup.”

Toroman explained that preparing for a 10-day tournament such as the FIBA-Asia Championships is different from preparing for a three-month PBA conference.

“We must mold our team into a condition where it will be ready for international competitions,” said Toroman. “The Jones Cup starts Aug. 6 in Taipei and that will be a good preparation for us. If we play in the Champions Cup and the Governors Cup, it will mean no rest moving forward to the Jones Cup.”

Toroman said to make up for the absence in the Governors Cup, Gilas may consider playing in a pocket tournament in Turkey in the middle of July and in another pocket tournament in Portugal late that month. Newly designated Portuguese national coach Mario Palma has invited Gilas to play in Lisbon with the national teams of Iran, Lebanon, Canada and the host nation.

Toroman said a formal letter will be sent to the PBA advising Commissioner Chito Salud and the Board of Governors of the decision by Gilas team official Butch Antonio. The letter will contain a request for four PBA reinforcements – Jimmy Alapag, Asi Taulava, Kelly Williams and Dondon Hontiveros.

“We decided on a wish list of four players,” said Toroman. “It’s up to the PBA Board if our request will be approved. We are hoping the PBA will agree to give in to our request.”
Toroman said Hontiveros was a late addition to the “wish list” and will be an asset to Gilas because of his outside shooting range.

“We’ve learned lessons from our Asian Games experience,” said Toroman. “Now, we have to think how to best prepare our team for the FIBA-Asia Championships. Playing in the Commissioner’s Cup is a perfect preparation for us going to the Champions Cup.

After a rest, we can go overseas to Turkey and Portugal for a taste of international competition before playing in the Jones Cup. This will allow our players some days to recover in between games so we can be fully charged for the FIBA-Asia Championships.”

Only the winner of the FIBA-Asia Championships will earn an outright ticket to represent the region at the 2012 London Olympics. The second and third placers will be invited to participate in a later global tournament where the top three finishers are given wildcard slots for the Olympics.


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