Basketball:Three-month full schedule with Gilas for PBA players

January 12, 2011 12:52 pm 

By Lily O Ramos

MANILA, Jan. 11 — Here comes that special request again for players from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) being loaned to the Philippine Smart Gilas national men's basketball team.

National coach Rajko Toroman said he would like players including center Asi Paul Taulava, Kelly Williams and Sol Mercado or any other PBA player for that matter, to practice, bond and fully concentrate with the younger Gilas guys "for three months full-time schedule if we want to win in the FIBA Asia-qualifying meet to the 2012 London Olympics."

Toroman believes giving the PBA cagers enough time and focus to learn the system of Smart Gilas could give the country a better chance of becoming truly competitive in the coming FIBA-Asia qualifier.

The FIBA-Asia men’s Olympic qualifying tournament will be held in China from September 15 to 25.

But first, Smart-Gilas will compete in the Dubai International basketball meet on January 16 as part of its preparation for FIBA-Asia qualifying meet.

"No excuses," said Toroman in the Tuesday PSA Forum at Shakey’s U.N. Avenue, "but fatigue and lack of cohesiveness affected the nationals’ campaign in the last Asian Games in Guangzhou, China."

Although the team was reinforced by PBA players Taulava, Williams and Mercado, Toroman said the nationals didn’t really had the benefit of practicing with a complete roster a month before the meet as the three PBA cagers had to divide their time playing for their mother ball club and Smart Gilas.

“The biggest problem we had then was they are (PBA players) playing for their mother team and practicing with us twice. That is not enough. We need to play solid for two or three months as a complete team,” said Toroman in the session presented by Outlast Battery, PAGCOR and Shakey’s.

“We got quality players with Asi, Kelly and Sol, but we didn’t get into game shape. The PBA players gave us a lot defensively, but we didn’t really get the time to jell and we did not do good offensively.”

The end result saw the nationals finishing at sixth place, their worst showing in the quadrennial meet since 1966.

Toroman doesn’t want the same thing happening again,the reason why he is batting for PBA players not to suit up anymore for their mother teams if ever they will be allowed to don the national colors.

The major involvement of the PBA to the training and possible formation of the national squad is among the key issues to be addressed by team owners when they sit down together for a long-awaited meeting on January 25.

“The most important thing is for us to be together with the PBA players for three months,” said Toroman, adding he is not bothered at all by the brickbats he and the team have been receiving after the Asian Games. (PNA) LAM/LOR

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