Former national team coach Rajko Toroman believed that adding AJ Edu, Kai Sotto, and four PBA stars will beef up the Gilas pool in their run in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

/ 4 December 2020

Seeing how the Gilas youth-laden team bannered in the Asia Qualifiers Cup manhandled Thailand in the second window, Toroman is seeing a bright future for Philippine Basketball.

“Tough guys. They’re very athletic, very young yet they play amazing. I was very impressed with this Gilas team. Their confidence was sky-high, their shooting was astonishing. Very talented generation of players,” Toroman said.

The 65-year-old tactician is confident that the Philippines can form a formidable lineup with his given formula.

According to Toroman, with Edu and Sotto serving as the big men and adding a capable naturalized player to the all-cadets core team, the Philippines can hold its own when faced with highly rated Asia-Oceania teams like China, New Zealand, Australia, and Iran.

“They cannot dominate the Asian level yet, because there is Australia and New Zealand now and also China. But they can surprise and beat these teams. The Filipinos can be very, very competitive,” he said.

Moreover, the Serbian Coach thought that three or four PBA stars can reinforce the national team given their experience. 

“Yes, they will need the PBA. Three or four players from the PBA can give the team the needed experience. I have no idea what is the plan, it’s up for the SBP, but for me, these guys surprise me. I believe they can look much better in the future,” said Toroman.

However, the veteran coach did not name the PBA stars that he wanted to be an addition to the team and let the Gilas coach and SBP choose on their liberty instead.

Toroman believed that the all-cadets training team was the best model for the Philippine national team but when asked if the Gilas should revert to the all-amateur lineup he replied, “I like that program, that’s the best program for Philippines, but it will still depend on the SBP and its stakeholders.”