Winning the annual William R. Jones Cup is not the main goal of the Gilas Pilipinas squad.
Chot Reyes bared the 16-man roster for the July 15 to 23 joust in Taiwan with the squad composed mainly of young players who will power the Philippines’ quest to return to the Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.
Gilas 5 deputy coach Jong Uichico said the reason for the young squad is to give the players the exposure that will prepare them for the more important international tournaments.
“We are bringing the cadets and young players in the Jones Cup to get them exposures and for them to adapt to the system of coach Chot (Reyes),” Uichico told The Manila Times in an interview. “So eventually, they are going to improve under the national team system.”
Included in the Gilas roster for the Jones Cup tournament are Jio Jalalon, Roger Pogoy, Ed Daquioag, Mac Belo, Fonso Gotladera, Matthew Wright, Kiefer Ravena, Kobe Paras, Raymar Jose, Mike Tolomia, Almond Vosotros, Von Pessumal, Kevin Ferrer, Carl Bryan Cruz and Chris Standhardinger and import Mike Myers.
Baser Amer, Troy Rosario and Bobby Ray Parks Jr., who are named to PH 5 for the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia next month, were not lined up for the Taiwan gig.
Uichico said they would try to win the crown although he’s aware of the tough competition that awaits them.
“We are going to do the very best and of course we will be sending a competitive contingent so there’s a chance. But our priority here is the exposure of our cadets,” said Uichico.
Besides Gilas, the national teams of Iran, Iraq, South Korea, Japan and India are competing in the meet. Host Taiwan will field in two teams. Also in the competition are 3D Canada Global Sports and Atletas All-Star of Lithuania.
Uichico added that Myers would be a big boost to the team’s young core in the Jones Cup.
“He (Myers) is a good fit although we can bring in a good import. But if we bring a super import, what kind of exposures are cadets will be getting,” he said. “You defeat the purpose of giving our players the exposure they need if we hire a super import.”
The last time Gilas Pilipinas won in the Jones Cup was in 2012 also under Reyes.
Last year, the PH club Mighty Sports won the Jones Cup tournament. Ravena was part of that squad, which also includes imports Marcus Douthit, Dominic McGuire, Justin Brownlee and Hasheem Thabeet.