INCHEON, South Korea - Jordan coach Rajko Toroman had planned to naturalize a versatile player who’s a familiar figure for most Filipino basketball fans.
The Serbian coach bared he planned to naturalize former PBA import Gabe Freeman ahead of Jordan's stint in the 17th Asian Games, but dropped the plan because of the three-year residency rule for naturalized players that disqualified Andray Blatche from suiting up for Gilas Pilipinas.
“We want to put also, a famous name in Philippines, Gabe Freeman, to help us. But they didn’t allow us,” said Toroman. “Our decision was to go for all Jordanian.”
Freeman played as import in the PBA for several years, suiting up for San Miguel Beer in 2009 where he eventually won a title, before joining the Philippine Patriots in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) the following year.
Freeman returned to the ABL with the San Miguel Beermen in 2013, and then played for a few games with Barangay Ginebra as a late replacement for Josh Powell in the team’s ill-fated campaign in the Governors’ Cup.
Toroman decided to go with an all-Jordanian roster after leaving out naturalized player Rasheim Wright from his lineup.
“I’m thinking that we are playing better without Rasheim,” said Toroman.
The Serbian, who led Iran to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said he hopes Jordan will be competitive enough to reach the quarterfinals of the Asiad with an 11-man roster.
“Without five players, it will be a tough competition for us. We expect to play in the quarterfinals. We will be competitive,” said Toroman.