Friday, 29 April 2011

PHI - Two PBA players confirmed for Smart Gilas; two more likely

Posted by chardyboy on Friday, April 29, 2011 0 comments


MANILA (FIBA Asia Champions Cup) - Two PBA players Dondon Hontiveros and Asi Taulava have been confirmed to play for Smart Gilas, when the Filipino capital hosts the 2011 FIBA Asia Champions Cup from 28 May – 5 June.

Smart Gilas, a development project started by Philippines two years ago under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman, will continue to utilize the experience of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in their pursuit of a top finish in the 26th FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan, China later this year.

The team formed with a group of young collegians caught the eye when they made their debut in the 20th FIBA Asia Champions Cup at Jakarta in 2009.

“We really need them. They’ve become more of a necessity for us right now with Kelly Williams and Jimmy Alapag of Talk N Text playing in the PBA Finals,” said Toroman on Tuesday.

Williams and Alapag too are expected to join the Smart Gilas as Rajko chases the dream of leading another FIBA Asia team to the Olympics after leading Iran to victory in the 2007 FIBA Asia Championship ensuring qualification for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But the quantity and quality of time the TnT duo spend with the Smart Gilas depends completely on how the franchisee fares in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals, which start on Wednesday.

“We want to give these guys some rest. But if they can play in the Champions Cup, we’ll see,” Toroman said about the TnT duo.

“We’ll ask Asi and Dondon to join us in practice on Monday. We’ll see if they can join us in the Champions Cup. It’s possible,” Toroman said.

With American Marcus Douthit playing now as a naturalized Filipino, Smart Gilas will play the FIBA Asia Champions Cup without any imports.

The Smart Gilas were in impressive form recently before losing to Ginebra Kings in the Commissioner’s Cup semi-finals, and earned rave responses.

“They have really improved a lot. They’re very dangerous team,” Ginebra coach Jong Uichico after his team beat the Smart Gilas in the semi-finals.

But Toroman was equanimous about the result saying “we’ll show where we are right now in the Champions Cup.”

“The level of competition is going to be tough in the Champions Cup as teams from Iran, Lebanon, Qatar and Jordan will also see action. We hope to do well in this tournament since we’re playing in front of the home crowd,” he added.

Smart Gilas have been drawn with Asean Basketball League semifinalists KL Dragons of Malaysia, Jordanian champions ASU, a top club team representing Japan and the representative of FIBA Asia Sub zone Middle Asia.

Smart Gilas had qualified for the quarter-finals in both their previous appearances in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

They finished sixth at Jakarta on debut in 2009 and seventh at Doha last year.



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