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.