A REMATCH between Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese Taipei in this year’s William Jones Cup basketball tournament won’t take place.
National coach Chot Reyes said lack of preparation time forced him to decline an invitation to return to the annual cage meet one year after Gilas was 'uninvited' by Taipei due to a diplomatic row.
Reyes said he was left with no choice but to turn down the Jones Cup invitation since the tournament will be taking place just days after the national team begins its buildup for the 2014 Fiba-World Cup.
Gilas Pilipinas won’t start training camp for the world championship until August 1, while the Jones Cup – where the national team emerged champion in 2012 – is slated to start on August 6.
[For full story, see Chot Reyes pleads for more time for Gilas buildup for Fiba World Cup]
“The concern is ’yung condition to play the Jones Cup on August 6 kung mag-pa-practice pa lang tayo on August 1. So tinurn-down na natin ‘yung imbitasyon,” Reyes said during an interview with Sports Radio 918.
With Gilas Pilipinas not competing again in the Jones Cup, the team won’t be having the chance to get back at one of only two teams to beat the Filipinos during the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship in Manila last August.
Gilas lost to Chinese Taipei, 79-84, in a thrilling preliminary match in front of a capacity crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena. The nationals later settled for a runner-up finish after losing to Iran in the gold medal play.
The loss to the Taiwanese failed to dampen the spirit of Gilas, which won five straight games, including its showdown against Korea in the semifinals, to book a place in the Fiba World Cup in Spain.
Chinese Taipei, meanwhile, settled for fourth place but held the distinction of beating many-time champion China in the quarterfinals.
Gilas Pilipinas failed to defend its Jones Cup title last year after organizers withdrew their invitation to the team owing to a simmering diplomatic issue between the Philippines and Taiwan.
The Philippines has won the Jones Cup four times, including the 2012 edition behind the core of the Gilas team led by tournament Most Valuable Player LA Tenorio.
Gilas will only be preparing for a full month for the World Cup since the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup is set to end on August 15 if the finals goes the full seven games.
“For now, we have zero international exposure,” Reyes said.