Sunday, February 26, 2012

Did Norman Black Inadvertently Reveal Too Much About The Smart Gilas Pilipinas Coaching Change?

UAAP Season 74 Finals: Ateneo Blue Eagles vs. FEU Tamaraws, Sept. 24, 2011
[Photo credit: Diana Moraleda for Inboundpass.]

Norman Black gave Ateneo de Manila student publication The GUIDON an interview regarding his decision to step down as head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles after UAAP Season 75. But did he also reveal, perhaps inadvertently, too much about the recent coaching change in the national basketball team Smart Gilas Pilipinas?

Norman Black to coach his final year for Ateneo
By Angelo F. Herbosa, Chino C. Razon

The GUIDON was able to have an exclusive interview with Black in the Basketball Office of the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center. After the initial request, he requested that the interview be moved the following day, saying that he wanted time to think about what to share.

"It was a personal decision," he said. "I consulted my family, and I felt it was the right time for me to go back to the PBA."

The former Detroit Piston shared that after the 2010 FIBA Asia Championships, it was almost certain that then Talk 'N Text head coach, Chot Reyes, was going to be promoted as head coach of the national team. "That's when the job of Talk 'N Text was actually offered to me."

Full story…

I'm curious as to when exactly the Smart Gilas and the Talk 'N Text gigs were offered to Reyes and Black, respectively. Remember that in October 2011, only a month after the 2011 FIBA Asia Championships where the Philippines finished fourth and thus failed to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, the Philippine Daily Inquirer already broke the news about the impending coaching shuffle involving those Manny Pangilinan-financed teams. That story has since been proven correct.

From those I can only infer that from October 2011 (or even earlier) until late January 2012, former Smart Gilas head coach Rajko Toroman was kept hanging whether he will be retained as national team head coach but all the while, the post had already been offered to Reyes.

If that is indeed the case, it's no way to treat the coach who helped the Philippines regain somewhat its former lofty standing in the Asian basketball scene. No wonder Toroman signed with San Miguel Corporation earlier this month as consultant of SMC's teams in the Philippine Basketball Association (where the Pangilinan group's Talk 'N Text and Meralco squads also compete) and the ASEAN Basketball League.

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe Toroman already knew even before last month that he was not going to be retained by Smart Gilas. But that's not what's apparent from the reported facts and statements.

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