FORMER Gilas Pilipinas coach Rajko Toroman will have an enormous task in the 2015 Fiba-Asia Championship as his Jordan team is bracketed in the tough Group C of the tournament to be held in Changsa, China.
In his first Fiba-Asia stint with his new team, Toroman’s Jordanian squad is grouped with Asian Games gold medalist Korea, out to bounce back in this year’s competition after finishing with only a bronze medal two years ago in Manila.
Jordan will also be facing China in the same group.
Despite only finishing fifth in the competition two years ago, the Chinese have beefed up their roster for this year with former NBA player Yi Jianlian back to suit up for the home team.
Singapore, which finished third in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship, completes the bracket of the tournament that will be held from September 23 to October 3.
If ever Jordan hurdles Group C, Toroman’s team will also be in for a tough time against Group D squads Chinese Taipei, Lebanon, Qatar, and Kazakhstan, considered by many as this edition’s so-called ‘Group of Death.’
“It’s a very difficult group,” Toroman told Jordanian media, the story of which was picked up by Fiba.com.
“Everyone knows the potential of these teams, without forgetting that China is the host of the tournament. We also will fall with three strong teams in the second round and that leads to a tough quarterfinal,” said Toroman, whose last stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba-Asia Championship had the team finishing fourth during the 2011 edition held in Wuhan, China.
As former coach of Iran, Toroman steered the team to the championship of the 2007 Fiba-Asia tilt in Tokushima,Japan, beating Lebanon in the championship match to earn a berth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The Philippines, now under coach Tab Baldwin, is part of Group B along with Palestine, Kuwait, and an East Asia representative, although the Gilas Pilipinas mentor refused to be carried away with the relatively lighter bracket.