Take 4: Gilas taps new import for 2 tourneys
Douthit, the Los Angeles Lakers' second-round choice in the 2004 Rookie Draft, will be Smart-Gilas' new import prospect when the Philippine team aspirants see action in two international events – the invitational event in Manila and the annual William Jones Cup in Taipei. - in a one-month stretch.
Smart-Gilas coach Rajko Toroman confirmed to GMANews.TV that his compatriot, Serbian forward Milan Vucicevic, already went home and the team is now awaiting Douthit's arrival.
Douthit is a 6-foot-10 forward who had stints playing as import in Korea and Europe leagues. He also saw action in the National Basketball Developmental League (NBDL).
"He will be coming here on the 15th to try out for a spot," said Toroman in a telephone interview. "I didn’t see him play, although I've read he was drafted by the Lakers and saw action in the European League and NBDL."
Aside from having high hopes on Douthit, Toroman expects a much better performance this time from Fil-Am guard Chris Lutz and the returning JV Casio.
"Lutz didn't see much action as he was still adjusting to the system when we were in Doha. This time, I'm sure he'll play much better," said Toroman. "We will also give Casio limited minutes in the coming pocket tournament to get the feel of the game after suffering an injury."
If ever Douthit makes the squad, he will be the fourth reinforcement of the national team aspirants after CJ Giles, Jamal Sampson and Vucicevic, who backstopped Smart-Gilas in the recent FIBA Asia Champions Cup where the team finished seventh overall.
Toroman said they will test Douthit's mettle in the coming pocket tourney organized by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).
No PBA teams in pocket tourney?
The pocket tournament will have foreign teams from Jordan and China, which will be represented by DongGuan New Century Leopards.
DongGuan will now be handled by Brian Goorjan, regarded as the most successful coach in Australian basketball history.
Goorjan won six championships in the Australian National Basketball League and was a two-time Olympic basketball coach.
The SBP also wants teams from the PBA to compete in the pocket tournament from June 27 to 29, an idea that drew some concern on PBA commissioner Sonny Barrios.
"The SBP wrote to us and asked if we can allow teams to participate in the pocket tournament, but under the PBA rules, participating teams are prohibited to join outside of the league with the PBA tourney ongoing," said Barrios in a text message.
"I am asking the PBA board if they are minded to give exemption based on reasons cited by the SBP," added Barrios. - JVP, Rey Joble, GMANews.TV