Rajko Toroman praises, warns Gilas Pilipinas
MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas’ pioneering taskmaster gave the National Five both praise and warning on Friday night.
Rajko Toroman, who handled the national cage program from 2009 through 2011 tipped his hat to the Philippines’ young National Five, saying that the current edition is now at par with teams competing in the Philippine Basketball Association.
“It’s great … [A]ll these players are talented,” he said shortly after Indonesia bowed to the Philippines, 76-51.
“For me, I can say that they are on the level of PBA teams in the quality of the players’ talent and size. You have Kouame, you have Kai Sotto—great size.”
The Serbian mentor also complimented Dwight Ramos, Gilas’ foremost weapon in the tournament thus far.
“He [looks] like a European player, good size, very tough, athletic, he can shoot the ball. Really big prospect from Gilas,” he said of the big guard currently enrolled at Ateneo.
Toroman, however, said not to get hopes too high, especially for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament which will be held in his home soil.
“Don’t expect some miracle in Serbia from them because they are not experienced [enough] when they play against great teams in Serbia and the Dominican Republic,” he said.
Gilas is simply way too inexperienced against the two teams they’re slated to play beginning June 30. There, Gilas needs to at least score a victory to have a chance of advancing to the next round. Each nation that tops the four qualifiers will gain passage to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, this July.
Still, that doesn’t take away the fact that within the campaign is an opportunity for Gilas a chance to grow.
“It will be great. Because now, in corona time, you don’t have [enough] international games,” he said. “That is an opportunity to get some experience, some exposure and I think it will be good.”
“Whatever result it will be, this team of the Philippines, Gilas has a future,” he closed.