Monday, 11 April 2011

Gilas faces disbandment unless it tops FIBA-Asia

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


MAKE or break.

That’s the grim reality facing the Smart Gilas basketball team and Serbian coach Rajko Toroman in the FIBA-Asia men’s championship, an Olympic qualifying tournament, in Wuhan, China in September.

"Unless Smart Gilas wins the FIBA Asia championship, the team will be disbanded," a very reliable source told Business Insight/Malaya over the weekend.

The competition is Asia’s qualifying tournament for the 2012 London Olympic Games, with only one Olympic slot up for grabs.

"The SBP leadership does not see any reason to continue funding the team should it fail to qualify for the Olympics," said the source, who was informed of the impending move by a high-ranking official of the basketball association.

Samahang Basketbol Pilipinas president and business magnate Manny Pangilinan has poured a small fortune into the quintet bidding to make it back to the Olympics. The Philippines last saw action in the Olympics in Munich in 1972 with a team bannered by Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez, among others.

The Olympic basketball build-up was a brainchild of former SBP executive director Noli Eala who patterned his blueprint after the North Consolidated squad conceived and bankrolled by former ambassador and businessman Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, the basketball godfather under the late President Marcos in the early until mid-80s.

The Cojuangco formula consisted of hiring a competent foreign coach–in this case American Ron Jacobs, and tapping outstanding local players and reinforcing the squad with naturalized cagers which, at that time were shooter Chip Engelland, swingman Jeff Moore and center Dennis Still.

This master plan reached its successful climax in 1985 when the Filipino cagers, also bannered by Samboy Lim, Allan Caidic and Hector Calma, won the Asian championship In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Similar to what the Jacobs-coached squad did, the Nationals are currently playing as a guest team in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup as part of their seasoning and have performed well enough to rank second after the eliminations.

"The SBP intends to start from scratch if Smart Gilas fails in the China tournament," the source said, although he did not say what fate awaits Toroman, who was hired shortly after Eala was tapped as SBP executive director.

Toroman steered Iran to the FIBA Asia championship in 2007 which gave the Iranians the right to represent Asia outside of host China in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Despite being beefed up by three PBA players, the Philippines, with the Serbian mentor calling the shots in his first major international competition for Smart Gilas, finished sixth out of eight countries in last year’s Guangzhou Asian Games.


0 Responses so far:

Leave a Reply