GMA News Online

Former LA Laker eyed as naturalized player for RP 5

April 15, 2009 8:08pm

MANILA, Philippines – National basketball team coach Rajko Toroman has a new prospect for his young, Olympic-seeking crew: former Los Angeles Laker CJ Giles.

The 23-year-old, 6’11 center, who played five games as a Laker, is said to be seriously being considered to be hired as a naturalized player for the all-amateur Smart Gilas Pilipinas basketball team.

Giles averaged 2.7 points and 3.4 rebounds as backup of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol last year. He also played for the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Summer League in 2008 before bringing in his stuff in the NBA Developmental League playing for Sioux Falls.

But Giles first has to meet certain criteria required by Toroman, according to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Noli Eala.

“We understand that Giles could be open to the idea but we have not discussed this formally with him," said Eala.

Toroman, who steered Iran to last year’s FIBA Asia Men’s Basketball crown, welcomed the possibility of having Giles in the line up.

“We are excited to have Giles in the Smart Gilas RP Team as he will fill in our urgent need for a strong presence in the middle. We hope that he can adjust to our system and our young guys as fast as possible," said Toroman.

The Smart Gilas squad has previously considered tapping the services of another NBA veteran in Chris Taft, who was sent home as he was visibly out of shape.

Scouts described Giles as “having a great size and strength, an excellent rebounder and a phenomenal shotblocker with a 7’4 wingspan."

His first test – initially as an import - will be the Fiba Asia Champions Cup in Jakarta starting on May 12 where the country is hoping to qualify for the first Fiba World Champions Cup next year in Europe. –GMANews.TV
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