THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is no longer seriously considering the participation of Team Pilipinas in the Jones Cup as part of its buildup for the 2019 Fiba Basketball World Cup.
SBP president Al Panlilio said that since the dates of the Jones Cup will run smack with the PBA calendar, they are now looking at hosting either a mini-tournament or a series of friendlies for Team Pilipinas.
“The Jones Cup is quite challenging because it’s from July 12 to 21. It’s nine days, masyadong matagal,” Panlilio said after the PBA board meeting on Friday.
National coach Yeng Guiao had earlier expressed his intention to join the Jones Cup as the main preparation of Team Pilipinas for the 2019 Fiba World Cup set August 31 to September 15 in China.
“I haven’t spoken to Yeng yet from yesterday. I also promised to sit down with Yeng and to really understand the program that he wants. But based on the calendar that we saw today, baka medyo mahirap mag-participate sa Jones Cup,” said Panlilio.
Panlilio said they now plan to invite World Cup-bound teams for a series of friendlies.
“As you know, on their way to Australia [in the final window of the World Cup qualifiers, both Lebanon and Jordan came over and played two games each in the Philippines. That might be a better option," he said.
“Of course, we don’t know which team. What we can do is go to the draw on [March 16] and then teams that aren’t in our bracket, maybe even Korea, we can organize something with Korea or some other team,” said Panlilio.
Panlilio said hosting a tournament will allow the SBP to have more control of the schedule, with the PBA schedule given consideration.
“Grueling ‘yung Jones Cup eh. Eight or nine games straight ‘yun. Sabi rin naman ni Commissioner Willie (Marcial), the teams don’t show their cards.
"Our purpose is different. We want to best prepare the team. Maybe the friendlies and mini-tournament may be a better option. Identify two teams maybe, at least, and schedule games with them,” said Panlilio.