MEMBERS of Gilas Pilipinas on Monday lamented the decision of the Jones Cup organizers not to invite the defending champions in this year’s staging of the meet set July 6-14 in Taipei.
LA Tenorio admitted that other than failing to defend the national team’s title, the Jones Cup snub meant missing a chance to have a good tune-up against the very same opponent Gilas will be facing in the Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship in Manila.
“Yung ganitong sitwasyon kasi hindi naman natin hawak,” said Tenorio, obviously referring to the diplomatic fiasco between the Philippines and Taiwan which organizers cited as the major reason for not extending an invitation to the reigning Jones Cup champions.
“Sayang lang kasi we can’t defend our championship. For me, it’s a good tune-up sana before the Fiba-Asia tournament, mostly kasi nandiyan na ang mga makakalaban natin,” Tenorio told Spin.ph shortly after national coach Chot Reyes confirmed receiving a formal letter from organizers informing the team that it is not invited for the 2013 edition of the tournament.
Gabe Norwood, a member of the victorious Gilas Pilipinas team in the Jones Cup last year like Tenorio, also expressed his disappointment about not being able to defend the nationals’ title through his account @GNorwood5 on Twitter.
Tenorio, adjudged the Most Valuable Player of last year’s Jones Cup, added the stint could have given Gilas the opportunity to scout the opposition in time for the Fiba-Asia showpiece set August 1 to 11.
“Makaka-scout pa sana tayo, but I’m sure si coach Chot may back-up na plano. At least kahit may itatago sila (Asian teams), magkaka-idea na tayo. Personnel lang naman ang mawawala, but the system is there,” added the veteran point guard of Barangay Ginebra.
Team manager Butch Antonio said Gilas now has to resort to Plan B following the unexpected turn of events over the last few weeks.
“We will have to see if we can plan something to replace that (Jones Cup). The teams needs to play games kasi,” he said in a short message to Spin.ph.
At the same time, he said the national team is leaving the matter to the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) since the issue is more of a communication on a federation to federation basis.