There is one particular player from the youth-laden Gilas Pilipinas that has caught the eye of the national team program’s former head coach.
Rajko Toroman is left impressed with Dwight Ramos, even describing the 6-foot-5 swingman as someone like a ‘European player’ with his style of play.
The 22-year-old was among the Filipino dribblers that took on Toroman’s Indonesia in the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers’ third window Friday evening. And he made his presence felt in the dominant 76-51 victory.
He churned out a double-double outing of 10 points and 12 rebounds, together with three steals and an assist in over 27 minutes.
Ramos has been solid thus far in the Clark bubble, as he was also instrumental versus South Korea last Wednesday. There, he top-billed for Gilas with 16 points, five boards, and two steals in the thrilling 81-78 win.
But this isn’t the only time that Toroman is in awe of Ramos. He has actually felt struck since the previous qualifying window in Bahrain.
The Ateneo de Manila recruit played a big role in his side’s dominant two-game sweep of ASEAN rivals Thailand in the Manama bubble. He had averages of 16.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals.
The first game saw him play a perfect game, shooting 7-for-7 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the stripe for 22 points in the 93-61 win.
“I think that the biggest surprise for me was — not looking [at] just today, but also in the tournament in Bahrain — is Dwight Ramos,” Toroman said.
“He is looking like a European player who is tough, athletic, and can shoot the ball. Really good prospect for Gilas.”
Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin, meanwhile, also sung praises for the impact Ramos brought in their conquest of the Indonesians. The win firmly keeps them atop Group B with a perfect 5-0 record.
“I think Dwight had an exceptional game,” he said. “And that could get lost in the fact that there wasn’t cohesion out there. I think Dwight’s performance, again, it points out that he’s a player comfortable with any level of basketball.”
Ramos helped the Nationals gain enough breathing room heading into the halftime break. Gilas later gained steam to pull away in the third chapter, where it unloaded a 13-0 run en route to a 48-31 lead.
“He did a good job, you know, sort of playing in a way that bridges the gaps of the first half,” said the American-Kiwi shot-caller.
Still, as happy as he was with Ramos’ performance, Baldwin wanta the versatile cager from California to act as more of a leader for his teammates.
“But again, I would encourage Dwight to be more of a leader to make sure everyone does their job and not just try to fix the problems himself. That’s a recurring theme with Dwight,” he said with a chuckle.
“Hopefully he plays games where he doesn’t have to fix things and everybody’s doing their job. You know, he stood out possible for the right reasons [in] the wrong scenario.”