21 May 2013

Gilas' Jones Cup Stint Imperiled

Gilas Team
Manila Bulletin

With the country's strained relationship with the Taiwan government, Gilas Pilipinas may lose its chance to defend its title in the William Jones Cup.

That is if a Taiwanese solon succeeds in his call to suspend all sports related programs with the country, particularly the forthcoming Jones Cup.

Incensed with the death of a Taiwanese fisherman, Taipei City lawmaker Chung Hsiao-ping has urged Taiwan government to stop dealing with the Philippine government even if it is just sports-related activities.

The Jones Cup, which usually serves as the final tune up for big international events especially for Asian countries, is scheduled two months from now.

If the host country cancels Gilas' participation in the Jones Cup it would surely affect its training for this year's FIBA-Asia Championship which the country will be hosting this August.

The top three finishers in the FIBA-Asia tournament will advance to the World Championship in Spain next year.

Last year, Gilas ended a 13-year title drought by stunning an American squad.

Jones Cup organizers have already sent its formal invitation to the Gilas through the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) a long time ago but the tragic shooting accident by the Philippine Coast Guard last week may change it all.

Despite the apology of President Aquino, Filipinos working in Taiwan have been advised not to roam around for their own safety.

Meanwhile, boxing could follow basketball as a casualty in the growing tension between the Philippines and Taiwan after word reached the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines that organizers are planning to withdraw an invitation to Filipino boxers to compete in the Taipei City International Championship also in August.

ABAP executive director Ed Picson said a Taiwanese boxing official had apparently gone on TV a few days ago and bared their intention to keep the Philippines out of the fledgling tournament.

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