THE Philippines and Chinese Taipei finally face off on Saturday in group play of the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championships, months after the Filipino cagers were snubbed from participating in the William Jones Cup in Taipei.
But a Taiwanese reporter told Spin.ph that the previous issue between the two countries definitely won’t be in the Chinese Taipei team’s mind.
The Philippines’ invitation to the Jones Cup was withdrawn by organizers, saying they could not ensure the security of the team due to the diplomatic tensions following the death of a Taiwanese fisherman fired upon by Philippine coast guard personnel in disputed waters.
The Chinese Taipei delegation was not represented in Tuesday’s press conference as they were set to arrive only in the country in the afternoon.
“Everybody knows what happened. But they are here to compete,” said Chih Jung-ni, a reporter for Taiwanese sports news agency TSNA who is in the country to cover the Fiba-Asia championship.
The Jones Cup hosts’ decision to keep the Philippines from participating hampered not only the teams’ preparation for the Fiba-Asia championship, but it apparently also affected the crowd attendance during the tournament itself.
Chih revealed that without the Philippines team in the lineup, the Jones Cup wasn’t able to lure crowds in Taipei.
“Everybody goes when it is the Philippines. Everybody wants tickets. But this year, not so much people,” said Chih.
The Taiwanese are set to debut against Jordan before taking on Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.