Manila Bulletin

Qatar, Jor­dan ‘spar’ with PBA squads


Mid­dle East pow­ers Jor­dan and Qatar are revving up for the FIBA Asia cham­pi­onship that gets go­ing next week by play­ing against PBA teams that are also get­ting ready for the start of the Philip­pine Cup late next month.

So far, Jor­dan and Qatar have seen ac­tion a few times and they both re­ceived mixed re­sults.

The Qataris set­tled for a 69-all draw with Glob­alport last Satur­day, while the Jor­da­ni­ans went up against Black­wa­ter which they beat, 76-73, but went down against Gine­bra, 84-75, yesterday.

Qatar has left for China, while Jor­dan still has a cou­ple of matches on tap.

While their ri­vals are in the thick of train­ing, Gi­las Pilip­i­ans is like­wise neck-deep in prepa­ra­tions with head coach Tab Bald­win opt­ing to bring the team to Mac­tan, Cebu, away from the mad­den­ing Metro Manila traf­fic.

“Two a day prac­tices in Manila means sit­ting in­side the car maybe four hours,” Bald­win told Cebu-based re­porters in a press brief­ing last Tues­day. “Cebu takes that prob­lem away from us.”

The na­tional team will re­turn to­day and will leave for China on Mon­day.

This ver­sion of Gi­las 3.0 is brack­eted in Group B of the FIBA Asia with Kuwait, Palestine and Hong Kong, and is ex­pected to bat­tle de­fend­ing cham­pion Iran, Ja­pan and In­dia in the sec­ond round.

Jor­dan takes on Gloa­bal­port to­day and to­mor­row will tackle Barako Bull, where for­mer Gi­las taskmas­ter Ra­jko Toro­man served as con­sul­tant in the PBA early last year. He took over the coach­ing chores of Jor­dan in the mid­dle of 2014.

Now, he is hop­ing to lead the team to the quar­ter­fi­nals of the FIBA Asia Cham­pi­onship, a goal Toro­man said will be tough since two key vet­eran play­ers have joined the team lately.

Toro­man is re­fer­ring to Sam Dagh­les and Zaid Ab­bas, who both missed the tour­na­ment in 2013 when the event was held here at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

“We are still in prepa­ra­tion. The prob­lem is not too much game to­gether. We with­draw from the Jones Cup be­cause of prob­lems (in Jor­dan). Then we played four games in China, and now we’re here,” said Toro­man when con­tacted by the Manila Bul­letin yesterday.

It was in China where Ab­bas, a 6-8 for­ward, joined Jor­dan for the first time but be­cause of visa prob­lems, he wasn’t able to travel here. Dagh­les, a 6-3 guard, ar­rived here from the US where he is based.

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