Former Smart-Gilas coach Rajko Toroman said he was forced to leave the Jordan national basketball team late last year due to lack of sponsors, which prevented him from reviving the Jordanians fortunes in Asian basketball.
Toroman took the challenge of handling Jordan in 2014 with high hopes that he could steer the former West Asian powerhouse back to the world basketball map.
But without the proper funding and support, Jordan slumped to 9th place in last year’s Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Changsa, China.
In the 2013 tilt in Manila, Jordan placed 7th when the team was still handled by Greek coach Vangelis Alexandris.
The Chinese reclaimed their rightful throne in Asia in 2015 after beating Gilas Pilipinas in the gold medal round.
“I left Jordan NT in October. My contract was over and I didn’t continue with them,” Toroman said, when reached by FOX Sports on Wednesday for comment.
“It is a very difficult situation in Jordanian basketball. There’s no money, no sponsors and no league,” he added.
The Serbian coach explained that Jordan’s professional basketball league only runs for 2 months, leaving the players to train among themselves.
His spot was recently taken by Sam Daghles, once dubbed the best Asian point guard.
During his prime, the 6-foot-4 Daghles led Jordan to a bronze medal finish in the 2009 Fiba-Asia men’s tilt in Tianjin, China, which eventually earned the Jordanians a 1st-ever berth in the 2010 Fiba World championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
At present, Toroman is handling Al Manama, the top professional team in Bahrain.
Asked if he plans to visit Manila to cheer for Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba Olympic Qualifying tournament this July, Toroman said he’ll come if he’s invited.
“I don’t know if I will come to Manila but if they (officials of Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) will invite me, I will come,” he said.
Toroman, who guided Iran to its 1st-ever Asian men’s basketball title in 2007, handled Smart-Gilas from 2008 to 2011 with the core of college standouts that then included JV Casio, Chris Tiu, Mark Barroca, Aldrech Ramos and Mac Baracael. – By Richard Dy
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