Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Repost From Rey Joble of GMA News.TV

Series versus Barangay Ginebra ‘a brutal one’, says Gilas coach

After four grueling encounters, the highly-physical PBA Commissioner's Cup best-of-five semifinals series have taken its toll on Rajko Toroman and his young Pilipinas-Smart Gilas squad, who felt the physical and emotional battering from crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.
Rajko Toroman

The pain was felt even more when the Gin Kings ended the series after a 92-85 victory in Game 4 and close it out at 3-1 on Sunday at the packed Big Dome.

But for the Serbian mentor who steered Iran to the 2007 FIBA Asia Championship crown and led the country to their first-ever Olympic stint in basketball competitions, the series was indeed a learning experience — both good and bad.

“It was a brutal series," Toroman told GMA News in a telephone interview. “We got a lot of physical beating in the semifinals. There were two broken bones and a shoulder injury received by some of our players and those injuries didn’t get a foul at all. I’ve never experienced such physicality in all those years of coaching."

“Me and my players were beginning to wonder why do we deserve such treatment and why do we get the impression from people that we’re an arrogant team," he added. “The players were really frustrated."

So the fruitful campaign ended for the Nationals, who also had their share of bright moments in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

In the single-round elimination, the signal was strong and clear for the Pilipinas-Smart Gilas, which had a chance to become only the third guest team in the league to win a championship.

They made it outright to the semifinal round after tallying the second-best record of 7-2.

“We played better in the elimination round than in the semifinals, but I believe we had a great chance of making it to the championship round or played in a Game 5 in the semis," said Toroman. "I think we deserve it."

Toroman said the disparity in free-throw shooting proved to be a big factor in the series, something which certainly went on the favor of Ginebra, particularly in Game 2 also won by the Gin Kings, 110-103.

“When you send somebody to the line 27 times, that’s definitely too much. “I didn’t know anybody who took as many free throws as Brumfield (Nate) than Bob Cousy in the NBA," added Toroman, referring to the most number of free throws given to the former Boston Celtics great, who went 30-for-32 from the foul line during their 111-105 quadruple-overtime victory over the Syracuse Nationals in the 1953 Playoffs.
Smart Gilas import Marcus Douthit is one among the players of Smart Gilas who experienced Ginebra's physical play. Smart Gilas' Facebook.

But the physicality of the series was too much to handle for the young national team that will represent the country in two major Asian tournaments in the next four months — the FIBA Asia Champions Cup next month and the FIBA Asia Championship in September.

“We’re glad that we’ve extended our season in the PBA, but I wasn’t surprised. I expect our team to make it as far as the championship round, although I believe it’s going to be difficult. Still, we could have done much better in the semifinals."

Toroman believes that somehow, the toughness of the games have developed his team.

“I think we’ve become strong mentally," said Toroman. “And that will make us really prepared for the FIBA Asia Champions Cup."

“At the end of the day, I would like to thank the PBA for allowing us to compete. Right from the start, I was saying that it’s going to be a win-win situation for both of us. They will get a chance to see good, quality games from us and we will have a chance to learn and develop while preparing for the international tournaments," added Toroman. - GMA News

Reposted From Rey Joble of GMA News.TV

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