Newly-formed Gilas Pilipinas national team of coach Tab Baldwin faces long time nemesis and reigning champion South Korea today in the 37th William Jones Cup at the Xinchuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City in Taiwan.
Game is set at 5 p.m.
Despite the terrible performance of South Korea when it lost to Iran (46-77) and Russia (84-86) in its first two games, Baldwin is expecting his players to go all-out against the Koreans, whom the Philippines defeated in the semifinals when the country hosted the FIBA Asia Championship in 2013.
With that win, the Philippines advanced to the finals and bagged a slot in the FIBA World Cup in Spain in 2014.
The Jones Cup tournament serves as one of the national team’s preparation for this year’s FIBA Asia Championship Olympic Qualifying in Changsha, China on September 23 to October 3.
However, Gilas will play the Koreans without naturalized player Andray Blatche, who left Taiwan on Saturday to attend his uncle’s funeral in the US.
Baldwin will rely on 2015 rookie top overall pick Moala Tautuaa, Marc Pingris, Sonny Thoss and Paul Asi Taulava, as well as veteran national campaigners Gary David, Dondon Hontiveros, point guard Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro, first timers Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva, Troy Rosario and JC Intal.
The Koreans, known for their dreaded perimeter and outside game, are expected to avenge their 2013 loss to the Filipinos during the FIBA Asia Championship with Kim Sunhyung, who scored 24 points in a losing effort against the Russian on Sunday, leading the squad.