“We have to be satisfied with this game,” said coach Rajko Toroman, pleased with the lopsided win they fashioned out in their very first game with PBA reinforcements Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel de Ocampo and Kelly Williams.
Toroman, however, insisted they still have a lot to work on with less than a week before the start of the Asian joust Wednesday.
The Serbian mentor also cited health concerns that bother the team, particularly Marcus Douthit and Jayvee Casio.
“We can see that some are not in best shape and we have a few more days to put them in shape,” said Toroman.
“We have some good things, but offensively we’re not fluid. We have to be more precise in our movements. We have new players, so we have to work on getting them into the system,” Toroman also said.
Toroman had no complaint on how the Nationals played defense, saying good defensive effort keyed the win in the first of three friendlies before leaving Manila Monday.
The Nationals, however, were the first to say this game couldn’t be used as gauge on what they can do in Wuhan.
For one, Qatar didn’t play naturalized player Chauncey Leslie and slam-dunking star forward Tanguy Ngombo.
“Still, they’re a tough team, they’re athletic,” Toroman observed.
While opting not to play Casio, Toroman gave all his other players a chance to show their worth.
Two will be cut and relegated as reserves in China.
Toroman said he’ll play Casio probably in the second halves of their last two friendlies tonight versus Jordan and tomorrow against Qatar.
“With Jayvee in the team, we have good reason to be optimistic in Wuhan,” said Toroman.
Alapag nailed three of five three-point attempts and paced the Nationals with 11 points.
De Ocampo added nine, Marcio Lassiter chipped in eight and Douthit contributed six points and three rebounds in only 21 minutes of action.
The Nationals went 8-of-21 from the three-point zone and 27-of-63 overall as against the Qataris’ 16-of-63 clip.
Smart Gilas 69 – Alapag 11, De Ocampo 9, Lassiter 8, Ababou 7, Tiu 6, Douthit 6, Lutz 6, Barroca 5, Williams 5, Aguilar 4, Taulava 2, Ballesteros 0, Baracael 0.
Qatar 52 – Ali S. 10, Saeed 9, Hassan 8, Elhadary 8, Ali A. 8, Ndour 7, Salem 2, Shaer 0, Sow 0, Ndiaye 0.
Quarterscores: 21-6, 33-18, 57-32, 69-52
source: Nelson Beltran | philstar.com