JORDAN national coach Rajko Toroman had his first look at a Barangay Ginebra side coached by Tim Cone on Thursday morning.
Needless to say, the former Gilas coach was impressed.
“I see a very strong team. I saw that they are slowly getting their offense, they have a system and they try to work within the system and they have the size,” Toroman said shortly after Jordan’s 85-94 loss to the Kings in their scrimmage at the CCF gym along Ortigas.
“They play tough defense, they have size. They are a very, very competitive team, and they fought ‘till the end, and they have a lot of good players, it should be tough to play them in the next conferences,” he added.
Although he was quick to warn that a tune-up game is far different from actual PBA matches, the veteran internationalist liked what he saw in Ginebra's first scrimmage since Cone started putting his triangle offense in place.
At the very least, he expects Ginebra to be a playoff contender next season.
“But again, it’s very difficult to judge now (the true potential of Ginebra), but for me, the first impression of Ginebra is that they are very positive and good. I think that they will be contender, atleast for the semifinals. They are on the right track,” added the former San Miguel Corp. coaching consultant.
Judging from the game, Toroman, also a former coach of Barako Bull in the PBA, said Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter this early looked good in the triangle offense.
“They have really big guys, Greg and Japeth, they were really good. We couldn’t match up with them, which tells us to work on our big guys, if we want to fare well in the coming Fiba Asia,” said Toroman, who is set to bring his Jordan side to the Fiba Asia in Changsha, China next week.
However, that doesn't mean the Ginebra torch has been passed from Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand to Slaughter and Co., he added.
“You cannot say that yet, it’s just one game, it’s just a tune-up game, but they are improving,” he said. “But Japeth and Greg were the best scorers, based on what I saw. I wasn’t paying much attention to the boxscore, but the two played well and also Mark and LA (Tenorio).”
Meanwhile, Toroman bared that their tune-up versus San Miguel on Friday at the Acropolis Gym was called off because the Beermen still have a lot of players on injury layoffs.
Instead, Jordan will play Globalport at the Moro Lorenzo Gym on Friday afternoon.