Source : June Navarro Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA—Smart Gilas manager Frankie Lim Wednesday confirmed that a series of tuneup matches against Qatar and Jordan is being planned for September 8 to 11 in Manila.
The games will serve as the PH five’s final preparation going into the Fiba Asia Championship in Wuhan, China.
The Nationals are scheduled to leave September 13 for the Asian championship from September15 to 25 where defending champion Iran and 15 other countries grapple for the lone continental spot at stake for the 2012 London Olympics.
Smart Gilas was supposed to play in a four-nation pocket tournament, which included Lebanon, Syria and the host country, in Doha, Qatar, this week but was canceled after Talk ‘N Text players couldn’t make it.
“We’re in the process of finalizing the details. It’s a good way to keep the team in great shape going into the Fiba Asia,” said Lim.
The matches will allow TNT standouts Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams and Ranidel de Ocampo to get used to head coach Rajko Toroman’s system.
“As I’ve said, we need these international games for the TNT guys. The more games with them, the better for us,” said Toroman.
The TNT players are scheduled to participate in Smart Gilas scrimmages on Aug. 29, more than a week after the Tropang Texters’ Game 7 defeat to Petron Blaze in the PBA Governors Cup Finals last Sunday.
That leaves only 16 days for the TNT trio to blend in with mainstays Chris Tiu, Mac Baracael, Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, Japeth Aguilar, Dylan Ababou, Jason Ballesteros, Casio and Barroca.
The Philippines had been drawn together with host China, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, in Group D of the Asian championship’s opening round.
UAE is scheduled to face Smart Gilas in the September15 opener before the Filipinos meet powerhouse China and Bahrain in the next two days. They will most likely take on Japan, Jordan and Syria in the second round.