THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has accepted the decision of its Taiwanese counterparts to revoke an invitation for Gilas Pilipinas to compete in the 35th William Jones Cup basketball tournament this July.
SBP executive director Sonny Barrios told Spin.ph the letter sent via email by the Organizing Committee of the Jones Cup and the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association expressed, more than anything else, concern for the safety of the entire national team delegation.
“Puro maganda naman `yung sinabi. They started with a nice greeting and ended with a sincere apology. Wala akong masasabi sa sulat nila,” said Barrios, while aware that the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Taiwan are slowly starting to improve.
“Napansin ko nga na medyo humuhupa na `yung tension, pero sila (Taiwanese) ang nakakaalam kung ano ang mas safe para sa team natin,” added the SBP official.
Barrios said the country was initially sent an invitation to see action in the Jones Cup, where it is the defending champion, last January or a few months before the Philippine Coast guard servicemen shot a Taiwanese fisherman to death in disputed territory.
At the same time, the amiable basketball official sought to calm public anger over the decision of the Taiwanese organizers, notwithstanding the fact the move was a big blow to the preparations of Gilas Pilipinas for the coming Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship.
Barrios is aware at how hostile fans have condemned Taiwanese basketball officials regarding the decision.
“We’ll just go by their letter. Mas alam nila ang sitwasyon dun. Sinabi nila na delikado pa ang sitwasyon for our delegation, pakinggan natin. Sila ang nandun,” said Barrios, who admitted that plans to appeal the decision are far-fetched.
“Appeal? I don’t think so. We will just have to take it at face value. They (Taiwanese) know the situation more than us. Para mag-appeal ka, parang sinasabi natin na mali ang pakiramdam nila about sa gulo dun,” he added.