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Even with Bowles, Toroman feels Indonesia not yet at Gilas' level

Indonesia's new men's basketball coach Rajko Toroman recognizes the fact that even with a naturalized player in former PBA Best Import Denzel Bowles, unseating the Philippines in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games would be close to impossible.

For one, he only assumed coaching sometime in June and second, the 6-foot-10 Bowles just joined the Indonesian national squad recently.

Toroman said team chemistry is one key issue he's dealing with the Indonesian national squad. And that's the big reason why he's not even entertaining thoughts of beating the Philippines, which will host the SEA Games starting Nov. 30.

"Not at this moment," Toroman told ESPN5, in response to the question of whether his veteran presence and tapping Bowles can lead Indonesia to a SEA Games basketball upset against Gilas.

Tim Cone, the PBA's only two-time Grand Slam champion coach, has been named to handle the Gilas squad a few days ago, which will carry the core of Barangay Ginebra in the SEA Games.

Toroman, the former Smart-Gilas coach, explained the SEA Games is a short-term goal since he is looking at helping Indonesia secure a spot in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup.

"We just started our preparation for the SEA games. The SEA Games is our small goal. Our main goal will be windows. We have to qualify for FIBA Asia in 2021," he stressed.

Indonesia has been bunched alongside Gilas Pilipinas, Thailand and the Philippines' long-time Asian rival South Korea in Group A of the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers.

With only the top two teams in each of the six groups advancing to the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup, and the third placers battling it out for the final four spots, Toroman is determined to help Indonesia secure that spot.

At the moment, the Indonesia men's basketball team is in Chinese Taipei for the 2019 Hualien International Basketball tournament.

The 30-year-old Bowles is playing in his first tournament with the Indons, who won their first game against former ABL champion Westports Malaysia Dragons, 76-47 on Thursday.

"So far he (Bowles) is playing in a tournament here (in Taipei) more than two months after the injury with ROS (Rain or Shine)," Toroman said in an email response to ESPN5.

"He is to bring size to the team and also to make Indonesian players better. He is an offensively skilled player but unselfish," added the veteran international coach.

Bowles led B-Meg (now Magnolia) to the 2012 Commissioner's Cup crown en route to being named the Best Import for that conference.

His most recent PBA stint was with Rain or Shine in the mid-season conference a few months back, but was cut short after hurting his knee in a game against Alaska.