TAB Baldwin and his Gilas Pilipinas 3.0 team gets their initial taste of competitive basketball when the Philippines returns to the annual William Jones Cup basketball tournament in Taipei later this month.
The tournament is the first international competition the national team will be joining since Baldwin put together a training pool for the coming FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship in Changsha, China in September.
Aside from the Philippines, other countries seeing action in the August 29 to September 6 meet being held in honor of the late Fiba secretary general William Jones are defending Fiba-Asia champion Iran, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Russia, USA, and two entry teams from the host country.
South Korea, represented by pro team Ulsan Mobis Phoebus, won the championship of the tournament’s 36th edition last year.
This marks the first time Gilas will compete in the meet which it won in 2012 behind a team coached by Chot Reyes.
The national squad won’t play its first game until August 30 when it goes up against Taipei Blue in the main game of a heavy four-game bill at the New Taipei Hsinchuang Stadium.
The following day, the Filipinos take on South Korea (August 31) followed by their match against Russia (Sept. 1).
Up next is Japan (Sept. 2), then Iran on Sept. 3 in a rematch of the final protagonists of the 2013 FIBA-Asia tilt in Manila, and New Zealand on Sept. 4
Gilas battles USA on Sept. 5 before capping its stint with its Sept. 6 encounter against Chinese Taipei White.
After the United States with 15 titles, the Philippines and Iran are the next two countries with the most championships won at four since the tournament was first held in 1977.
The Philippines failed to defend its title in 2013 after the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association withdrew its invitation to the country owing to the Philippine-Taiwan row stemming from the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard in disputed waters.
[Throwback: Tenorio is 2012 Jones Cup MVP]