Gilas Pilipinas braces for a tough competition in the 2017 William R. Jones Cup invitational tournament to be held from July 15 to 23 in Taiwan.
Team manager Butch Antonio said the team expects a struggle in each game. The Philippine squad is composed of young players reinforced by American import Mike Myers and naturalized player Christian Standhardinger.
“The objective of coach Chot (Reyes) is to win each game in the Jones Cup,” said Antonio during the send-off news conference for the quintet on Wednesday at the Bar One in Crown Plaza Hotel in Ortigas.
“It’s hard to say anything against our opponents because we do not know most of the teams there. But I think based on the preparation we put in short time, we have our chance,” he added.
Gilas will play nine games in nine days and will begin their campaign against Canada’s 3D Global Sports on Saturday.
Reyes failed to attend the send-off as he’s in a business trip in the United States. He will join the team on Friday in Taiwan.
Kiefer Ravena, who played for the champion team Mighty Sports last year in Jones Cup, said their goal is to bring home the crown again. The Gilas 5 won the Jones Cup jewel in 2012 with naturalized player Marcus Douthit leading the squad.
“Our goal of course is to become champions. We’re just going to play our game and double our effort in this tournament,” said Ravena. “We just need to trust each other.”
The Philippines has won the tournament five times – in 2016 (Mighty Sports), 2012 (Gilas), 1998 (Philippine Basketball Association Centennial Team), 1985 (San Miguel) and 1983 (Northern Cement).
Besides Ravena, the other players in the squad are Kobe Paras, Rey Parks, Jiovani Jalalon, Raymar Jose, Michael Tolomia, Ed Daquioag, Von Pessumal, Alfonzo Gotladera, Carl Bryan Cruz, Roger Pogoy, Matthew Wright, Kevin Ferrer and Almond Vosotros.
“I’m very excited and thankful for the opportunity to play for the Philippine team in the Jones Cup,” said Myers.
After Canada, Gilas will play against Taiwan A on Sunday at 7 p.m.; Taiwan B on Monday at 3 p.m.; Japan on Tuesday at 1 p.m.; Korea on Wednesday at 5 p.m.; Iraq on Thursday at 5 p.m.; Lithuania on Friday at 3 p.m.; India on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Iran on Sunday at 5 p.m.