Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Toroman : Kelly Williams key to success


MANILA, Philippines — Smart-Gilas Pilipinas Serbian coach Rajko Toroman may have found the missing link in his continuing search for the right combination to make the national team click.

With the biggest and most important tournament just days away, Toroman feels the addition of forward Kelly Williams in the team’s campaign in the FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China starting September 15 has given the team a major personnel particularly in the area of rebounding which in the past had been the team’s Waterloo.

“He can really help us with his rebounds,” Toroman said yesterday after the team’s practice session at the Ynares Gym in Pasig City. “That’s what we are lacking in the past tournaments, so he’ll be a big help.”

The 6-foot-7 Williams had actually played for Smart-Gilas during the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China last year together with point guard Sol Mercado and veteran center Asi Taulava.

This time for the Asian championship, Taulava and Williams were again added to the team together with the latter’s Talk ’N Text teammates Jimmy Alapag and Ranidel de Ocampo.

This will also be the first time that Williams will play alongside naturalized player Marcus Douthit, the 6-foot-10 center who missed the Asian Games because his papers were not complete at that time.

With Williams on his side, this will lessen Douthit’s load in defending the post and grabbing rebounds, allowing him to concentrate with his offense while Taulava serves as his back-up.

“This will be the first time for Marcus and Kelly to play together, so we’ll see what they can do together,” said Smart-Gilas team captain Chris Tiu.

The 6-foot-10 Taulava and de Ocampo have been practicing with the national team the past two weeks, while Alapag – fresh from his 10-day vacation in the United States with wife, former actress LJ Moreno – was present last Sunday.

The 5-foot-10 Alapag, the reigning PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), is expected to bolster the team’s point guard rotation together with JV Casio and Mark Barroca.

Williams failed to arrive yesterday due to problems with his flight back from the US, but Toroman expects the former PBA MVP to arrive and practice today.

The Nationals are set to leave for Wuhan on Sept. 13. But before that, the team will play tuneup games with Qatar on Thursday and Sunday, and Jordan on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.

The games will be played at 7 p.m. and will be free to the public.

Smart-Gilas is in Group D in FIBA-Asia with host China, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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