PBA commissioner Chito Salud urged the Gilas Pilipinas squad to stay strong and focused despite its inability to defend its William Jones Cup crown in Taipei this July.
“Unfortunate as it is, we need to move forward. We need to stay strong. We need to stay focused. Nothing has changed - we control our destiny,” Salud said in an official statement released on Tuesday.
On Monday, Gilas Pilipinas national coach Chot Reyes announced the country’s standing invitation to join the annual Jones Cup basketball tournament has been withdrawn by Taiwanese organizers.
The cancelled Jones Cup invitation is just one of the many road blocks Gilas is currently facing in its buildup for the Fiba-Asia men’s championship, which the country is hosting on August 1-11.
Before that, Reyes had to deal with health or injury issues beginning with Talk ‘N Text’s Fil-Am forward Kelly Williams, whose recurring blood disorder eventually led to his being dropped from the original 17-man training pool.
Then Talk ‘N Text guard Jared Dillinger figured in a vehicular accident more than a month ago, fracturing his pelvic bone.
Ryan Reyes, Talk ‘N Text’s hard nosed defender, and Alaska’s Sonny Thoss won’t be able to join the team in the Lithuania training camp due to injuries, reducing Gilas to a 13-man lineup when they leave this Sunday for the two-week trip.
Despite all these challenges, Salud encouraged the national squad not to lose hope and stay strong.
“We will not be deterred in our quest to perform well in the coming Fiba-Asia championship which our country will host,” added the PBA chief.