Gilas to face Canada in Jones Cup opener
PRIMING up for two important regional events in the next two months, Gilas Pilipinas opens up its hectic Jones Cup Invitational schedule against Canada on July 15, as the country hopes to win the event for the fifth time and retain the championship using its national team.
It will be nine games in as many days for the Filipinos, who will be bringing in one import in Mike Myers and will be parading Kobe Paras as a National for the first time in front of the world.
Paras will be joined by former collegiate phenom Keifer Ravena and members of the Cadet pool all seeing action in the PBA now, counting Jio Jalalon and Matthew Wright, who were with pro veterans that bamboozled the opposition in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association championship in Manila two months ago.
Ravena and Paras are, without a doubt, the finest talents in the amateurs today with Ravena contemplating on turning pro later in the year.
Myers has been in the country for weeks now, originally listed to see action for TNT KaTropa in the PBA, while Paras and Ravena headed straight to Gilas camp after bannering the PH 3X3 team.
After taking on Canada’s 3D Global Sports on that day, the Filipinos clash with Taipei A, Taipei B, Japan, South Korea, Iraq, Lithuania, India and Iran in what could be the title game on the 23rd.
Iran has been the most dominant force in the tournament in recent years, with five championships in the last eight years. In 2013, the Filipinos failed to defend the crown by losing to the Iranians.
“This year’s Jones Cup field is tough. Nine games in nine days,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes, the first Filipino coach to win the event.
The Jones Cup is a single round tournament that awards the championship to the team with the best record on the final day, making it interesting that the committee scheduled the Filipinos and the Iranians to collide in the final day.
Other members of the team are Kevin Ferrer, Mike Tolomia, Almond Vosotros, Von Pessumal, Carl Bryan Cruz, Mac Belo, Fonzo Gotladera, Ed Daquioag, Roger Pogoy, Raymar Jose and 6-foot-7 Fil-German Chris Standhardinger.
Team Philippines will also be defending its gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games slated in Kuala Lumpur in August, before playing in the Fiba Asia Championship in Beirut later that month.
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