Just 10 days to shape up for Smart Gilas five


MANILA—Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman is cramming to get the national team in peak form and have the PBA-loaned players adjust to his system in 10 days for the Fiba Asia Championship.

Talk ‘N Text’s Jimmy Alapag finally showed up in training Sunday after a week-long vacation in the United States while Toroman is hoping the 6-foot-7 Kelly Williams would arrive Monday to complete his roster bound for the Asian championship in Wuhan, China, on September 15-25.

“We have a very short time and we have to use these remaining days to put the guys in shape,” said Toroman after the team’s practice at the Ynares Center in Pasig City.

Aside from Alapag and Williams, skipper Chris Tiu, playmaker JVee Casio and naturalized center Marcus Douthit had missed practice for quite some time.

Casio, whom Powerade selected as the top overall pick in the PBA Rookie Draft, was forced to sit out for almost three weeks due to a swollen knee, Tiu recently recovered from an ankle sprain and the 6-foot-10 Douthit just arrived from the US.

Except for Williams, who is still in the US, Smart Gilas completed its lineup for the first time in weeks Sunday with Mark Barroca, Mac Baracael, Japeth Aguilar, Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, Dylan Ababou, Jason Ballesteros and Asi Taulava reporting for training.

“There are basically two important things to do. First is to get the players in good shape and second, put the three guys (Alapag, Williams and Ranidel De Ocampo) into the system,” said Toroman. “With these guys, we’ll be a different team.”

The Nationals are bracketed in Group D along with China, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in the opening round of the Fiba Asia Championship, which offers one continental slot to the London Olympics next year.

“It’s definitely a stronger team. We’ll be able to complete the missing pieces of the puzzle,” said Smart Gilas team manager Frankie Lim.

“Our weakness at the four spot will be compensated by the addition of Kelly and Ranidel and we also got stronger at the point with Jimmy’s leadership and skill.”

Smart Gilas will play a series of tuneups against Jordan and Qatar on September 8-11 at 7 p.m. at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan, the team’s final preparations two days before leaving for Wuhan on September 13.

“Our focus is to try help the team in whatever capacity possible in preparation for China. I want to help but not at the risk of breaking the chemistry of these guys,” said Alapag, the reigning PBA MVP.

The Nationals will face Qatar on September 8 and will take a break with Jordan and Qatar meeting up the following day. Smart Gilas will take on Jordan and Qatar again on September 10 and 11.

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  • michael recabar

    wow people here are bashing the Smart GIlas. I hope you look at the positive side first before seeing the negative. before you talk, analyze things first.. I am not saying that you are wrong, but i am just giving you guys some advice in dealing with things. Lagi nalang kasi tayo complain. Gumawa ka kaya muna ng mabuti bago ka magreklamo..

    I have seen these guys play. And they are strong! For sure, whatever happens in Wuhan, they will not make this as an excuse. These are the people who will play for our COUNTRY.. we only have ONE COUNTRY. buti nga meron! so instead of saying bad things, lets just SUPPORT them. ano ba magagawa kung reklammo kayo. mas okay pag support diba? 

    come on guys, this is what’s lacking in us.. NATIONALISM.. GO PILIPINAS!! 

  • Anonymous

    Its the Talk & Text Tropang Texters with Douthit as import! After all those months of practices and games, bale wala na now that the team has changed so drastically. Sorry MVP, but I dont think the Smart Gilas program in its current form is sustainable, nor will it get us to the top of the Asian basketball food chain. All these pro players on the team, and with majority of the current players having joined the draft, just show that the PBA is vital to the national team if we are truly interested in forming the best that we can. 

  • Gordon Montoya

    kung ganyan din lang di nagpapraktis, sana puro PBA na lang ang kinuha. Anong klaseng national team yan

    • Mariongene

      Madamot nga ang PBA pag nag pro na sila so matitira na lng dun ay si chris tiu. ewan magulo parin ang system sana nga puro PBA players na lng ang binuo like nung centenial team and yung sa busan team. Hope wlang excuses pag natalo nanaman tayo. Hope mag 2nd place man lang.

  • Mariongene

    Just Win with no excuses! Go Gilas

  • Mariongene

    Just win with no excuses! Go Gilas!

    • Gordon Montoya

      Excuses are for losers :)

  • Benjamin

    Short time in preparation, well that will be the reason pagnatalo. may iba pa bang reason Sana nga magbigay kayo ng magandang laban at MANALO.

    • Boy Mcdo

      SHORT in time of preparation, db kaya nga binuo ang Gilas few years back  para may time? Eh bakit ngayon sasabihin short sa time?? Mukhang eto ang alibi pag puro talo ang aabutin sa Wuhan ah…

  • Vincent

    toroman should have at least the final line-up at this time,,,,,why still keeping ababou and ballesteros,,,for what reason???-sparring players,,,,,

    frankie lim seems pretty convinced by this line-up, very optimistic huh!!!,,,,,how about a tune-up game between gilas and san beda,,,,,,nice managerial job frankie!!!!!

  • Gilbert Mira Buena

    ……let us wish our national basketball team the best on this competition. a program is in place and we just need to hope that continued support will be provided by those who have the financial capability to bankroll all the preparations and exposures needed by the team. for now, MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) is taking the roll of Godfather for the team….and doing great at it!!!!!

    … Olympics slot, who knows….we might just be blessed!

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