TAIPEI – Philippines-Mighty Sports faces tough tests from the get-go when it starts its title bid in the annual William Jones Cup tournament at the Hsinchuang Gymnasium here.
The heavily-reinforced squad, backed by Scratch It Pera-Pera Agad-Agad! and Symarom, will take on host Chinese Taipei A at 7 p.m. to open its campaign, before going against a dangerous Korean club at 5 p.m. the next day.
Leading the charge for the Philippine team are high-scoring PBA imports Al Thornton and Vernon Macklin. Before playing for NLEX, Thornton was a certified NBA blue chipper until he was slowed down by a knee injury. Still the Road Warriors reinforcement has shown he can still shoot the lights out, especially in the recent Commissioner's Cup where he tallied 69 points, the most by any PBA player in 21 years.
Former Barangay Ginebra import Macklin, a 6-foot-10 inside operator, led the Gin Kings to their last finals stint in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.
Other former PBA imports beefing up Philippines-Mighty Sports are Zach Graham, Michael Singletary and Hamady N’ Diaye.
Local players are also expected to play big like Jeric Teng, who was loaned by Rain or Shine in this tournament to prepare the swingman when he returns to action in the PBA.
Several other PBA free agents – Larry Rodriguez, Sunday Salvacion and Leo Avenido – are also in the lineup along with Jason Brickman, who was named MVP when he led the Malaysian Dragons to the ABL title, and mainstays TY Tang and Edrick Ferrer.
Dewarick Spencer of Seoul SK Knights and Troy Gillenwater, a resident star in the KBL, are also part of the roster and both ready to provide additional firepower.