Monday, September 12, 2011

Toroman : Smart Gilas still way off from top form

Source : June Navarro Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA—Smart Gilas Pilipinas scored an 80-71 victory over JordanSaturday night, but national coach Rajko Toroman said the team is far from the form that he wants it to be for the Fiba Asia championship—at least for the early part of the tournament.

“Still not good offensively. We don’t communicate on the floor well,” said Toroman, who will be back in the Asian championship limelight after steering Iran to its first Fiba Asia crown in 2007, gifting the Middle Eastern nation an appearance in the  Beijing Olympics three years ago.

Toroman pointed out that Talk ‘N Text aces Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams and Ranidel De Ocampo need more games to get into the rhythm.

“We need more time. These guys who came in late have been up and down,” said Toroman. “We’ll be more ready in the second round. I guess we need 10 days more to be ready.”

The Nationals are scheduled to leave for the Asian championship in Wuhan, China, Tuesday after concluding their three-year preparation for the 2012 London Olympic qualifier with a pair of friendlies against Qatar and Jordan.

They were supposed to wrap it up with another exhibition with Qatar last night but the visitors begged off to rest minor injuries to some of their key players.

Toroman said Jordan has unmasked a weak spot in the Smart Gilas offense by using a 2-1-2 zone defense, which instantly transforms to a 1-2-2 after the first pass, shaving off precious seconds in the shotclock and disrupting the attack in the process.

Smart Gilas opens its first-round campaign on Thursday against UAE followed by host China and Bahrain the next two days.

“Maybe we’ll not be 100 percent in the first part of the tournament. As we play more games in the second round, we’ll be much better,” said Toroman.

The Nationals could be up against Japan, Jordan and Syria in the second round of the group stage before entering the knockout phase in the second week of competition.

Point guard JV Casio didn’t suit up against Jordan, ranked as the third best in the Asian basketball circuit, as the PBA’s top overall pick continues to rest his left knee.

Smart Gilas leaned on Marcus Douthit and the hot shooting of Marcio Lassiter and Chris Tiu to withstand the Jordanians led by Osama Daghles, Zaghab Ali and naturalized shooting guard Rasheim Wright.

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