JORDAN is definitely bound to get better again with former Smart Gilas head coach Rajko Toroman now calling the shots for the team.
But the progress will not happen overnight, and would mean one less worry for Gilas Pilipinas when it vies in the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Charles Tiu, who served as one of Toroman’s trusted lieutenants during his stint with Smart Gilas from 2008-2011, said the short window Toroman has in preparing the Jordanians for the Asiad would be to the advantage of the Philippines especially if the two teams end up in the same group.
“He (Toroman) won’t have much time to prepare and teach his system,” said Tiu, admitting he’s still in constant contact with his mentor and good friend, who steered Smart Gilas to a semifinal stint in the 2011 Fiba-Asia tilt in Wuhan, China. “It takes a while to fully learn his system and he just started last week.”
Smart Gilas and Jordan didn’t cross path during the 2010 Asiad in Guangzhou as both were eliminated during the quarterfinals.
Gilas, however, had always been on the losing end against Jordan during Toroman’s stint with the national team, including the semifinals of the Fiba-Asia three years ago.
It wasn’t until last year’s Fiba-Asia here in Manila that the national team finally had its payback against the Jordanians.
Bracketed together in Group A, Gilas beat the Jordanians, 77-71, in their meeting during the preliminaries.
But the Jordanians had been a team on the decline by then under Greek coach Evangelos Alexandris and played without their two star players in Sam Daghlas and Islam Abbas.
Although the team is getting old, the younger brother of Rain or Shine guard Chris Tiu said he expects Jordan to become a contender again with Toroman at the helm and both Daghlas and Abbas back in the roster for the Asiad.
“He will definitely make the team (Jordan) better again,” said Tiu, who also served as Toroman’s assistant during his time as active consultant with Barako Bull before deciding to return to Serbia last December.
“It’s a big challenge for him because the team is already getting old,” said Tiu, adding the man who steered Iran to the 2007 Fiba-Asia men’s title for a berth to the 2008 Beijing Olympics will also be looking for a naturalized player to reinforce the Jordan team.
Tiu said there were a lot of offers for the Serbian mentor to coach the national teams of other countries following his stint in Manila, but opted to consider the offer of Jordan in the end.
An insider at the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), however, bared to Spin.ph that as early as last year’s Fiba-Asia here, talks were already ongoing between Toroman and Jordan on the possibility of working together once his work with Barako Bull is over.
Tiu believes the former Olympic coach is definitely a good catch by the Jordan team.
“They’re lucky to have him as their (Jordanians) coach, and it will be interesting to see how far he can take the team which has been struggling since finishing second in the 2011 Fiba-Asia meet,” he said.