Smart Gilas crams with top Texters
MANILA—Smart Gilas has a lot of cramming up to do with the Talk ‘N Text stars set to join the national team just a little over two weeks before the Fiba Asia Championship.
Philippine five coach Rajko Toroman said PBA MVP Jimmy Alapag and power forwards Kelly Williams and Ranidel De Ocampo will only join team scrimmages starting on Aug. 29 after taking a rest from the back-breaking seven-game Governors’ Cup championship series won by Petron Blaze last Sunday.
That leaves the TNT trio with only 16 days to familiarize with Toroman’s system for the Asian championship in Wuhan, China set Sept. 15 to 25 with the winner qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics.
“I guess they would need to rest for a week, more or less,” said Smart Gilas manager Frankie Lim.
Officials have been trying to arrange a couple of tuneups for the Nationals with Jordan tentatively Sept. 8 and 9 here in Manila and perhaps two to three more games with Chinese ballclubs.
“We hope to play as many games as we can with them but we haven’t finalized a single game yet,” said Toroman.
Smart Gilas assistant coach Jude Roque said team captain Chris Tiu and JV Casio will begin practicing today after recovering from injuries sustained in the William Jones Cup in Taipei last week where the Filipinos played for nine straight days.
Tiu twisted his left ankle during the PH five’s third-place victory over Chinese Taipei while Casio had a swollen left knee, forcing the consistent scorer to sit out the team’s last two games in the Jones Cup.
Meralco’s Asi Taulava has remained with the team but shooter Dondon Hontiveros had decided to quit for health reasons.
“I’m still trying to convince him because he’s a big asset to the team,” said Tiu.
Completing the PH lineup are naturalized center Marcus Douthit, Mark Barroca, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz, Japeth Aguilar, Jason Ballesteros, Mac Baracael and Dylan Ababou.