There will be no let up for the Smart-Gilas national team as far as Asian Games preparation is concerned.
Though the Nationals are still competing in the FIBA-Asia Stankovic Cup in Beirut, Lebanon, Smart-Gilas management plans to let them play several goodwill games against top teams from China and Korea to keep them in sharp form going to the Guangzhou Asian Games this Novermber.
“September and October are crucial months for the RP team to get ready for the Asian Games,” said Smart-Gilas team manager Frankie Lim on Friday. “We’ll probably play four to five games as part of our preparation.”
The national team mentored by Serbian Rajko Toroman and reinforced by PBA veteran Asi Taulava is scheduled to play Iran-B in the crossover quarterfinals Friday night at the Ghazir Stadium.
Smart-Gilas sought the help of Taulava since only 11 players were available from the pool at the time of their departure to Beirut.
Lim said they’re still hoping the PBA will allow two to three players to beef up the team for the Asian Games since the competition will be stiff.
Toroman has mentioned in the past that if possible, he’d like to have forward Kelly Williams, guard Ryan Reyes and bigman Sonny Thoss for the Asian Games.
Also being considered are Sol Mercado of Rain or Shine and Ranidel de Ocampo of Talk ’N Text.
The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has yet to write a formal request to the PBA regarding its plan but Lim said he knows the pro league is fully aware that Smart-Gilas can be competitive if they have at least five veteran players in their fold.
Waylon Galvez, Manila Bulletin