Sunday, 1 May 2011

Smart Gilas on course – Toroman | The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online

Posted by chardyboy on Sunday, May 01, 2011 0 comments





source: By WAYLON GALVEZ


MANILA, Philippines — Smart Gilas Pilipinas created a big impression when it advanced outright to the semis of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Although the Nationals lost to the Ginebra Kings in their best-of-five semis duel, they earned raves from almost everybody, including Ginebra coach Jong Uichico, who said: “They have really improved a lot. They’re very dangerous team.”

But the readiness and full strength of the team will only be gauged after the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup which is slated next month in Manila.

With Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar and Japan joining the tournament, Gilas Serbian coach Rajko Toroman expects a tight and exciting race for the crown.

“In the Champions Cup, we’ll show where we are right now,” said Toroman as they further intensify their training for the FIBA-Asian Championship in September in Wuhan, China which is the qualifier for next year’s 2012 London Olympic.

The Champions Cup is slated on May 28 to June 5 at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

“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.

The national team is bracketed Group A together with Jordan-ASU, Japan, Kuala Lumpur Dragons and a team FIBA-Asia will pick from Middle Asia. In Group B are Lebanon, Qatar Al-Rayyan, United Arab Emirates-Al Shabab, Syria and three-time defending champion Iran-Mahram.

The tournament gathers the top club teams from each zones although most teams like the Philippines, Iran, Qatar, Jordan and Lebanon will parade their respective national squads reinforced by two imports.

Since Marcus Douthit is already a naturalized player, Toroman said they will no longer get another import, but it’s possible that two of four players from the PBA – Dondon Hontiveros and Asi Taulava – will see action in the event.


“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.

As for the other two PBA players, Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Williams, Toroman said: “That depends on the PBA Finals. We want to give these guys some rest. But if they can play in the Champions Cup, we’ll see.”

Alapag and Williams of Talk ’N Text will play in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against Barangay Ginebra starting today.

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