The country’s deep talent base easily gives the Philippines the potential to remain among the most dominant Asian teams in the years to come, former national coach Rajko Toroman said.
Toroman said the nation's passion for basketball has potential talent for the national team "growing like mushroom after the rain," unlike Iran which he said will only be an "ordinary team in Asia" if you take out the likes of Hamed Hadadi, Nikkhah Bahrami Samad and Mahdi Kamrani.
“Here in the Philippines, talent grows like mushroom after the rain. That’s the privilege of basketball here," said the Serb, who also led Iran to the Asian championship and a place in the 2008 Olympics prior to joining the Gilas national team program.
"I mean you take out Samad, Hamed Hadadi and Kamrani, and Iran will just be an average team in Asia,” Toroman added shortly after the Iranians regained the Asian championship via an 85-71 win over a tough-fighting Gilas Pilipinas side on Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Toroman said he’s overwhelmed by the fact that even without naturalized center Marcus Douthit, there were other talented big men who ably took his place beginning in the emotional 86-79 victory over Korea in their semifinal face-off on Saturday night.
“Take away Marcus in the team and you still have 11 players capable of replacing him. That’s why the Philippines has future. Just the way players are developing, and soon there will be 10 young players in the (PBA) draft. I don’t see other (Asian) teams having that kind of talent,” said the Serbian mentor.
He said that for next year’s Fiba World Cup to be held in Spain, Reyes won’t have any problem improving on the current Gilas Pilipinas roster should he plan to make some changes.
They (Gilas coaching staff) know what they are doing. You have 30 or 40 players who can play in the Philippine team like Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, Chris Lutz, Alex Cabagnot so it’s up to him (Reyes) to see what kind of players he needs,” he added.