JUDGING from the result of the draw, former national coach Rajko Toroman sees Gilas Pilipinas having a clear chance to reach the semifinals of the Fiba-Asia Men's Championship in Manila this August.
Currently on vacation in his native Serbia, Toroman kept abreast with the news about the draw online and was happy to see the hosts choose to be in the company of Jordan, Chinese-Taipei, and Saudi Arabia in the group stage.
“I think there’s a big chance (for Gilas) to top their group,” said Toroman, who led the original Gilas squad to a fourth-place finish in the 2011 Fiba-Asia cage joust in Wuhan topped by host China.
However, he warned that things would only become harder for Gilas in the second stage, where the Nationals will most likely square off with the likes of Japan, Lebanon, and Qatar for positioning ahead of the knockout rounds.
Toroman said Gilas avoiding an early clash with China, Iran and South Korea, which are bunched together in Group C now known as the 'Group of Death,' is a victory in itself.
Because of that alone, the national squad has a huge chance of making it to the semifinals, he said.
“The second round will be a lot tougher, unlike the first round. But at the end of the day, the Philippines’ mission is still to make it to the world championship so they just have to face everybody,” said the 58-year-old Toroman, who steered the Iranians to the 2007 Fiba Asia men’s championship in Tokushima, Japan.
"But I believe they could make it to the semis and from there, let’s see what happens."