Holding on?


Photo Courtesy: Sportsnewsunlimited.com

Smart Gilas national basketball team will vie for the lone Olympic slot on September this year with Rajko Toroman at the helm. Now I doubt if it’s worth holding on to him.

Right after the debacle at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last November, SBP Executive director Noli Eala tweeted that he wouldn’t comment on anything yet pending a stakeholders’ meeting. Reading between the lines, Eala probably was referring to the coaching issue which was plagued by critics with  the dismal 6th place finish. Scores joined the clamor for a coaching change since Toroman could not lead the team to at least a semi-final appearance. Some, however, insisted that since the ultimate goal of this program is winning the crown at this year’ FIBA-Asia Championship in Wuhan, China, it is therefore logical to keep Toroman at the helm until at the end of the program.

The latter idea prevailed.

Well, I have been closely following the Smart Gilas development program since its inception in late 2008. I agree with the copycat scheme of the Northern Cement back in the ‘80s. For two years, I had been optimistic that it would just be a matter of time before we regain our supremacy in basketball in this part of the planet. However, a 6th place finish at the recent Asian Games was a straw that broke the camel’s back.

This year’s edition of FIBA-Asia Championship will be definitely a lot tougher than the recent Asian Games. For one, China played without Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian. Besides, as for Iran, Hamed Haddadi and Samad Nikkah Bahrami weren’t  around too for various reasons. And Lebanon did not join at the biennial event at Guangzhou.

I used to be a staunch believer of Rajko Toroman in handling Smart Gilas. His credentials are far more impressive than any other coach on the local shores. His amazing feat of leading Iran back to the Olympics in 2008 is one of the highly regarded accomplishments in the international arena last decade. I never doubt his coaching genius. But there are times in your life when you’re successful in one but may not be on the other. Rajko Toroman was victorious with Iran but may not be with the Philippines. I doubt if it’s worth holding on to him.

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