MANILA, Philippines?The Smart Gilas-Pilipinas national quintet is looking past pro ballclub Talk ?N Text for reinforcements to boost its campaign in the Asian Games this November.
Already assured of getting Texters ace Kelly Williams for the Asiad, RP five coach Rajko Toroman now wants to recruit four more aces from the Philippine Basketball Association.
?It?s for the cause of the national team, but the PBA board will have to discuss [the Smart Gilas request] first,? said PBA chair Rene Pardo, who has been informed of Toroman?s need.
?I think there will be no problem if the players they want are under Talk ?N Text since the other teams will not be affected,? added Pardo.
Talk ?N Text is owned by telecommunications magnate Manny V. Pangilinan, who is also the president of the Sahamang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.
Pangilinan?s Smart Telecommunications bankrolls the RP five campaign in a bid to bring the country back to the Olympic Games in 2012.
Aside from Williams, Toroman wants to tap Texter Ryan Reyes, Alaska?s Sonny Thoss, Coca-Cola?s Asi Taulava and Rain or Shine?s Solomon Mercado.
Toroman said he would need either Thoss or Taulava to shore up the RP five frontcourt in case naturalization candidate Marcus Douthit fails to secure his Filipino citizenship in time for the Guangzhou Asiad on Nov. 12.
He also wants Reyes and Mercado to provide more stability on the RP five backcourt.
The Nationals finished fourth in the recent William Jones Cup International Tournament in Taiwan after dropping their games against the national teams of Japan, Lebanon and champion Iran.
Made up mostly of former and present collegiate talents and a few overseas cagers with Filipino roots, Smart Gilas?which the SBP formed last year?remained well below the caliber of previous national teams that, until last year, used the stars of the PBA.
The RP five?s ultimate goal is to win the Fiba Asia championship next year in Beirut and secure the region?s lone qualifying slot to the 2012 Olympics in London.