Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Williams joins Gilas practice, boosts PHL's FIBA-Asia chances

Posted by chardyboy on Wednesday, September 07, 2011 0 comments


Kelly Williams had his first practice session with Smart Gilas-Pilipinas Tuesday and coach Rajko Toroman welcomed the versatile forward saying that his presence will definitely boost the team's chances in the FIBA-Asia Championship For Men.

Williams' presence will be a big help for Gilas especially in the midst of reports that powerhouse China—which is in the same group (Group D) together with the Philippines, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain—had several of its key players nursing injuries.

Williams, the versatile 6-foot-7 forward, arrived in the country Monday after his flight from the U.S. was earlier delayed.

But he readily joined the squad in scrimmage the following day, hoping to instantly fit into Gilas' system with almost a week before the 2012 London Olympics qualifier fires off in Wuhan, China.

Toroman welcomed Williams with open arms, aware of what exactly the former PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) could do after earlier suiting up for Gilas in the Guangzhou Asian Games last year.

Williams definitely gives the team a towering frontcourt with naturalized player Marcus Douthit around, along with Japeth Aguilar and Ranidel de Ocampo, and making the team competitive even against 14-time champion China, which reportedly had three players hurting.

"They (China) have a lot of injuries," said Toroman after another hard day of practice with the Nationals at the Ynares Center in Pasig.

"I got some DVDs from a tournament in London where China played Great Britain and Croatia, and they're not so exciting."

Major casualty among the Chinese is star guard Wang Shipeng, who broke his right wrist in a recent tune up game with Australia.

Also nursing injuries are one-time NBA center Wang Zhizhi and Zhu Fangyu.

But Toroman still regards the Chinese a very dangerous opponent, although without some of their key players, he believes they are beatable.

"They still have quality players like Yi Jianlian and Sun Yue. But they have a problem at the point guard spot. That's their weakness," Toroman said. "They play a lot of zone defense, and that's the way they want to stop an opponent."

Williams and the rest of Gilas' big men would be crucial if the nationals are to stay in even terms with the Chinese.

"It depends on how we play defense against their big guys," he said. "If we can match up, and our outside players will deliver, we have a chance to win the game. We'll not give up against China. We are going to beat them if it's possible," said Toroman. — JVP, GMA News


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