Monday, 25 April 2011

Smart Gilas upbeat despite PBA semifinal loss

Posted by chardyboy on Monday, April 25, 2011 0 comments

source: By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines -- The Smart Gilas national team has accomplished its mission despite a semifinal meltdown against crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Commissioner's Cup Sunday.

"I think we played good in the playoffs. We just lost to a better team,'' said Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman after the Kings showed them the door, 92-85, in Game 4 of the best-of-five series.

"But as I've said before, our goal is not the PBA. In the end, we got the tough games that we needed and that's what we really wanted,'' added the Serbian coach.

The Nationals finished the elimination round of the tournament with a 7-2 record, second behind top playoff qualifier Talk ‘N Text, for an automatic semis spot before losing to the Kings, 3-1, in their duel for the second title slot.

"We're very competitive. I think we showed that we're not an inexperienced team. It's just that our approach to the PBA is different,'' said Toroman.

Smart Gilas used its stint in the pro league as preparation for the Fiba Asia Championship in Wuhan, China, on Sept. 15-25 where the champion qualifies to the 2012 London Olympics.

Led by naturalized player Marcus Douthit and team captain Chris Tiu, the national team has a series of international tournaments and tune-up games lined up before the Asian championship.

"We had a hard time, but I think that's good for the team. We survived a lot of adversities,'' said Toroman.

The Nationals, who also have guards JV Casio, Marcio Lassiter, Mark Barroca and Chris Lutz, forwards Mac Baracael, Dylan Ababou, Japeth Aguilar, Aldrech Ramos and centers Greg Slaughter and Jason Ballesteros, took a week's rest and would resume practice on Monday.

Next stop for Smart Gilas is the Fiba Asia Champions Cup on May 28-June 5 at the Philsports Arena.


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