The Smart-Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff plans to formally request three players from the PBA to reinforce the national team in the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in November.
The PBA players are Asi Taulava, Kelly Williams, and James Yap.
A Smart-Gilas insider revealed that Serbian mentor Rajko Toroman is now looking at possibly of having the three players following his evaluation of the national team after the FIBA-Asia Stankovic Cup recently in Beirut, Lebanon.
“Rajko wants the three,” the source said, who requested anonymity as the Smart-Gilas management has yet to meet with the PBA to discuss the possible inclusion of pro players to the national team.
A meeting is set next week between the PBA, the Smart-Gilas management and the Samahang Basktbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to discuss the loaning of players, which needs an approval by the PBA board.
Taulava, Williams and Yap were actually in the ‘short list’ Smart-Gilas coaching staff had. It also included San Miguel Beer’s Arwind Santos, Rain or Shine’s Sol Mercado and Williams’ Talk ’N Text teammates Ranidel de Ocampo and Ryan Reyes.
However, the source said Toroman is sticking with the 6-foot-7 Williams to improve the four spot, while Taulava, who already played for the Nationals in the Stankovic Cup, will be a big help at the center position.
As for Yap, the sweet-shooting guard of B-Meg Derby Ace who recently bagged his season PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) can bring his outside shooting to the RP team, which is important in international competition.
“It makes sense to have the three, they can really contribute to their respective positions,” said the Smart-Gilas insider.
“The idea is to have reinforcements, and keep the core of the RP team who has been with us since Day 1,” he added.
The source also mentioned that adding another point guard to the team can only complicate things as Mark Barroca and JV Casio are already rotating for the position, and if needed, off-guard Chris Tiu can slide at the point to run the offense.
The national team has until September 15 to submit its final line-up to the Asian Games organizing committee.
Waylon Galvez, Manila Bulletin