FINALS: Powerade Tigers 1 - 3 Talk N Text Tropang Texters
JAKARTA—The much-anticipated meeting between SMART-Gilas Pilipinas coach Rajko Toroman and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manuel V. Pangilinan has been reset to January next year.

Toroman confirmed this in a text message to InterAKTV.

“I am still in Serbia. They rescheduled my trip to Manila for January,” wrote Toroman.

The veteran international coach was supposed to meet Pangilinan on November 15 to discuss plans on the future of the SMART-Gilas program.

Toroman, who led Iran to its first FIBA Asia crown and its first Olympic basketball stint, refused to give details about his new function with the next batch of SMART-Gilas, a squad referred to as Gilas-2. “I will talk by January, after my meeting with MVP,” said Toroman. “I can’t speak about my options now.”
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas deputy executive director Bernie Atienza said he has no knowledge regarding the decision of resetting of Toroman’s appointment with Pangilinan.

“Hindi ko alam yan. MVP (Pangilinan) alone can answer that,” added Atienza, who is currently here supporting the men’s and women’s basketball team seeking for the gold medal in the 26th Southeast Asian Games.

Butch Antonio, SMART-Gilas operations chief and Sinag Pilipinas team manager, said Toroman is still included in the shortlist of candidates to become coach of Gilas-2 along with the other coaches under the MVP stable.

Pangilinan supports several other teams including the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters and Meralco Bolts in the PBA, the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles in the UAAP and the San Beda College Red Lions in the NCAA.

“When we say coaches under the MVP stable, that also means (Ateneo head coach) Norman Black, (Talk ‘N Text head coach) Chot Reyes and (Meralco head coach) Ryan Gregorio,” said Antonio.

Black is the head coach of Sinag Pilipinas national team currently playing in the 26th Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball tournament. Reyes and Gregorio served as assistants to Toroman in the FIBA Asia Championships in Wuhan, China. Reyes also mentored the national team in 2007 FIBA Asia Championship in Tokushima, Japan.

“We want to have continuity in our program.”

Antonio also disclosed the group’s surprising plan for the Gilas-2.

“We would also ask for the help of Jong Uichico and Tim Cone, two former national team coaches to join us and share their thoughts,” added Antonio.

Cone was coach of the Philippine national team that competed in Bangkok, Thailand in 1998, while Uichico helmed the squad in 2002 in Busan, South Korea. The decision to consult with the two is surprising because both coaches are under the employ of the San Miguel Corporation, a rival stable of the MVP group in the PBA.

“I think both Jong and I would be honored to be part of the national program, It’s a no-brainer,” said Cone in a text message. “But this is a management decision which would be based on time commitment and the handling of our current teams. That’s not always a simple or easy decision for them depending on organizational priorities.”

“That’s flattering,” Uichico would say in his own text message. “I would if time and management permits.”

InterAKTV is part of, the online news portal of TV5, which is chaired by Pangilinan.


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