RAJKO TOROMAN hopes Gilas Pilipinas will have ample time to prepare for the FIBA-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship, especially with the Asian showpiece set to played before home fans.
The Serbian coach whom Chot Reyes succeeded at the helm of the national team, stressed the need to have a longer period of training and adjustment to turn a collection of star players into one cohesive unit.
Toroman said the luxury of a long preparation was something his original Gilas team never had as PBA players Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Kelly Williams only joined them in training with about a month left before the FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China two years ago.
The three Talk `N Text stalwarts were tapped to reinforce the all-amateur Gilas team that also featured naturalized player Marcus Douthit. The team eventually finished in fourth place.
“I think that we really didn’t have the time because the third conference (Governors Cup) finished too late and Jimmy, Ranidel, and Kelly (were not able to make the adjustments),” said Toroman when Spin.ph caught up with him during the tune-up game between Barako Bull and San Miguel Beer at the Ronac gym.
“But if the (original Smart Gilas) team was two or three months together, they had a chance.”
The Gilas team made the semis of the 2011 Fiba-Asia for the first time in the last 24 years, but lost to Jordan in the battle for a championship berth, and later to Korea in the fight for third place.
Toroman preferred not to comment on the formation of the new batch of Gilas team, but hopes the players will still have enough time to train and prepare together at the conclusion of the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup.
“I don’t know really the format on how they will do that (preparing) because the championship will start on August 1 to 12,” Toroman said.
“Here, you know, you can have three to four national teams … There are a lot of players that can play. It’s up to the coach to choose (who) he wants,” Toroman said.