Rajko Toroman: China can be beaten at home
MANILA—Coach Rajko Toroman insists that China can be beaten at its home turf and that solid shooting and key defensive stops in the paint can help Smart Gilas Pilipinas pull off a surprise in the Fiba Asia Championship.
Toroman wasn’t impressed with China’s performance in a recent Olympic test run held in London, not to mention the spate of injuries that bugs the reigning Asian Games champs.
“I got some DVDs from a tournament in London,” said Toroman. “China played Britain and Croatia, and they’re not so exciting.”
“They have a lot of injuries. Their weak spot is the point guard position.”
Explosive guard Wang Shipeng broke his right wrist in a tuneup against Australia last month while key frontliners Wang Zhizhi, a former NBA center, and forward Zhu Fangyu are still nursing minor injuries with just a week to go before the Asian championship in Wuhan, China, on Sept. 15 to 25.
Smart Gilas is grouped with China, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in the opening round of the 2012 London olympics qualifier.
The Nationals face UAE on Sept. 15 before taking on the Chinese the next day.
“China plays a lot of zone—that’s how they want to stop their opponents,” said Toroman.
Still, the coach believes that China, with NBA forward Yi Jianlian and former LA Lakers guard Sun Yue, is a strong contender aside from defending champion Iran.
“It’s a matter of how we play defense against their big guys,” said Toroman. “If we match up with their big guys and our outside players deliver, we have a chance.
“We’ll never give up against China. We are going to beat them if we see an opportunity.”
Toroman hopes Marcus Douthit, Japeth Aguilar, Kelly Williams and Ranidel De Ocampo will hold their own against China’s bigs.
Toroman added that outside snipings from Chris Tiu, JV Casio, Jimmy Alapag, Marcio Lassiter, Mac Baracael, Mark Barroca and Chris Lutz will be needed to break China’s zone.
Williams, who arrived late Monday from the United States, finally joined the Smart Gilas scrimmages Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Center.
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