MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Gilas Pilipinas expressed disappointment on being snubbed for this year’s William Jones Cup, citing a missed opportunity to size up their FIBA Asia Championship foes.
LA Tenorio, the 2012 Jones Cup Most Valuable Player, rued their missed chance to defend the Jones Cup title.
“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’s Richard Dy.
The Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (CTBA) withdrew its invitation to the Philippines for the 2013 Jones Cup, following the Philippine-Taiwan row stemming from the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by the Philippine Coast Guard.
The Jones Cup has been hosted annually since 1977 in Taipei, Taiwan.
The CTBA advised Gilas Pilipinas of the cancellation of the invitation in a letter to Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan.
Gabe Norwood, a perennial member of the Gilas team, lamented the development.
"No go on Jones Cup... was looking forward to defending our title. But praying some good comes out of this, on and off the court," Norwood said through his Twitter account.
Tenorio, however, said they can do nothing about CTBA’s decision.
“Yung ganitong sitwasyon kasi hindi naman natin hawak,” he said, referring to the diplomatic row between the Philippines and Taiwan.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes said it’s a serious setback to the team since “the Jones Cup is such an integral part of our preparation.”
The 2013 Jones Cup is slated in July, two weeks before the FIBA Asia Championship set Aug. 1-11 in Manila. – With a report from The Philippine Star