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    Japan friendlies to fill void left by Taipei snub

    May 28, 2013

    GILAS Pilipinas is set to play three tuneup games against the Japan national team in July as it tries to fill the void left by the team's non-participation in the Jones Cup.

    Gilas team manager Butch Antonio told on Tuesday the team plans to fly to Tokyo on June 27 for the three friendlies, less than two weeks after wrapping up its training camp in Lithuania.

    "We already have an invitation from Japan. Kailangan na lang naman ng approval ng MVP group (the team's top financial backer)," Antonio said.

    Antonio said the tune-up games against Japan will go a long way for Gilas in its buildup for the Fiba-Asia Men's Championship, more so after Taiwan organizers withdrew its invitation for the Philippines to defend its Jones Cup championship.

    Gilas Pilipinas played in the Fiba Asia Cup (formerly Stankovic Cup) in Tokyo, Japan last year where the Filipinos finished fourth.

    The original Smart Gilas team, then handled by Serbian Rajko Toroman, also played several games against the Japan national squad shortly after its stint in the Fiba Champions Cup in Indonesia. 

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