Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Smart Gilas buckles down for work

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas remains confident that the Philippines has a shot of earning the sole remaining berth up for grabs in the Asian zone for the 2012 London Olympics.

“One thing that gives me a lot of hope is the fact that we have a program. We have an honest to goodness program to back up our desire to win in 2011,” said SBP Executive Director Noli Eala with a lot of conviction. “Not only do we have a program – a three-year plan with the right players and the right mindset for this sacred mission – but we also have a proven and internationally respected coach who knows what it takes to win in the international arena and who has got the experience and credentials to show for it.”

Eala was referring to Serbian Coach Rajko Toroman who masterminded Iran’s rise to power in Asian basketball before becoming coach of the Smart Gilas team. Toroman nearly joined the Memphis Grizzlies as an assistant coach but decided to come to the Philippines instead.

The 54-year old Serb however preached caution and much patience. “It’s not going to be easy. In the beginning it may be painful. We will lose some games and we may go through difficult situations. But in the end, our goal is 2011 and we will do everything to put things together.”

He related Iran’s similar journey where they lost 25 out of 35 matches. But their international exposure and constant training together paid off as they won the FIBA Asia Championship in 2007 and made it to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And even after he has left, the program is still in place as Iran won its second straight FIBA Asia title by beating host China convincingly 70-52.”

“I think the biggest thing that gave me hope was when Iran beat China in their homecourt. If you look at Iran, they are no bigger than us, except maybe for Hamed (Hadadi who is 7’3”) who’s really the focal point. But everyone else I guess, is comparable to us. But it’s not so much the look, the height and the size of Iran that impresses me, but it’s their look of confidence and the look that they are having fun as a team…. when you look at them, it’s like they’ve been living together the past 20 years.

“With all of these ingredients together, we are hopeful, we are optimistic that we have a program that is in place,” Eala summed up of one of the SBP’s main objectives which is to restore the Philippines as an Asian basketball power. “Now our work continues.”

Chester Jarrel Giles, the 6'11" former Los Angeles Laker, will be arriving on September 1 to join the Smart Gilas team that will play in the upcoming PBA First Conference. Many of the team's collegiate players who have been unable to join the national team's training because of their current responsibilities in their leagues will be on tap for the PBA stint.

Initially, Smart Gilas' participation in the PBA was for exposure. But the path has been cleared for their matches to have full bearing meaning they can compete for the championship if they do qualify.

No comments:

Post a Comment