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PHL DOZEN GET THUMBS UP FROM TOROMAN, CONE

Gilas Pilipinas has the materials to get the job done.

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Former Philippine national team head coaches Rajko Toroman and Tim Cone believe that  the Gilas Pilipinas team currently in New Zealand for the final phase of their preparations for the coming FIBA Asia Championship can bring the country back to the world stage.

Toroman, a respected figure in international basketball who steered Iran to the Asian throne and back to the Olympics, heads those who opined the Nationals have the depth, shooting touch, height, speed and quickness that should earn them one of the top three tickets the continental tourney is offering for the World Cup next year in Spain.

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“We have everything,” said the Serb who steered the Philippine team to a fourth place finish in the 2011 edition of the Asian tourney.

“We have the size, the speed, shooters and, having been together for three months now, chemistry,” added Toroman.

Indeed, Gilas coach Chot Reyes’ team is one of the tallest national squads ever with a frontline led by 6-11 Marcus Douthit, 6-10 June Mar Fajardo and 6-10 Japeth Aguilar. Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris and Gabe Norwood stand at least 6-5 while the likes of Jimmy Alapag, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro provide the flash and Larry Fonacier, Gary David and Jeff Chan are sure to lead in the sniping department.

Cone, whose Centennial Team won the bronze in the 1998 Asian Games, said the presence of Alapag, Castro and Tenorio in Gilas should put pressure on the opposing teams on both ends of the floor.

“I will say I’m not surprised. I expected them to keep their three point guards because I know Chot Reyes likes to play small at times,” said Cone upon learning of Reyes’ final lineup bared last Thursday.

“He can play them at same time, put a hard pressure on the other team and all are great shooters,” added Cone. “They also have the opportunity to go big. I think Japeth gave them a little bit more athleticism, length and quickness on the floor.”

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