Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Toroman unfazed by Asian Cup draw

Posted by chardyboy on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 0 comments

source: By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - There’s no such thing as a “Group of Death” for Serbian coach Rajko Toroman.
“I really don’t care,” said the head coach of the Smart Gilas Philippine team when asked what he expects from the official draw for the 2011 FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

FIBA Asia deputy secretary general Hagop Khajirian will supervise Friday’s draw, according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Sonny Barrios.

The former PBA commissioner said he spoke to Toroman during a quick visit to the team practice the other day, and he asked the head coach if he was attending the draw.

Barrios said Toroman’s only concern was the time of the draw.

“Aren’t you concerned with what group you will be in?” Barrios asked Toroman.

“You can put me in any group,” was the coach’s firm answer.

This, Barrios said during yesterday’s PSA Forum at Shakey’s UN Avenue, made him believe that the Smart Gilas team is ready for the tough matches ahead.

“I feel upbeat with this team. I’m sure they will be out there trying to win the title. We have a good team. What I saw in practice really impressed me,” said Barrios.

The FIBA Asia Champions Cup will be held May 28-June 5 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City, and that the draw will proceed even if the team roster remains to be finalized.

“We will look at the playing venue at Philsports, the hotels to be used. We will make sure they’re ready,” said Barrios who graced the forum together with his deputy, Bernie Atienza.

Atienza said they’re still waiting for the confirmation of the participating countries because some of the countries have “certain issues” standing in the way.

Atienza said that so far, among the 10 regular teams that have confirmed their participation are Iran, the defending champion, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan from West Asia.

The Philippines, under the Smart Gilas banner, will be there to crowd the contenders.

Atienza said for various reasons, the United Arab Emirates remains doubtful while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are almost in. Kazakhstan is also out, and taking its place is Afghanistan.

“But as of midnight last night, we got word that Afghanistan is having problems with its budget,” said Atienza, adding that Japan and Malaysia (a replacement for Thailand),” will be around.



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