31 May 2013

So What Jones Cup?

Gilas Team
Most Filipinos are die-hard basketball fanatics even if the average height dos not quite measure well against their western counterparts. Hence, it has been quite an honor to be invited and participate in various international competitions.

One such tournament is the the R. William Jones Cup (also known as the Jones Cup). It is an international sports event held annually since 1977 in Taipei, Taiwan. It was named after Renato William Jones, a basketball promoter and one of the founders of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).

Since its beginning, the Philippines have won the cup four times (1981, 1985, 1998 and 2012) with 3 third place finishes. The feat puts the country second to the United States team in number of championships won, the latter has dominated the tournament and finished on top on a record-setting 15 times .

Despite the tournament not having the best teams from the competing countries, the four championship victories were sweet since Filipinos are ranged against the much bigger and heftier opponents.

As the defending champs, the local team, Gilas, is expected to defend their crown again, but it seems the fallout from the Taiwanese fisherman’s death has derailed the team’s bid to repeat in the Jones Cup.
The news report was confirmed a few days ago when the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas (SBP) was informed that Gilas was now “un-invited” to the tournament on 6-14 July 2013, mostly due to safety reasons.

This should not be taken against the organizers in Taiwan. There are other ways and tournaments that the team can join to prepare the Gilas team to compete in preparation for the FIBA Asia Championships that will be held in Manila from 01 to 11 August 2013. Besides, the Jones Cup is not FIBA-supervised so that should make our non-participation a little less hurtful.

Instead of retaliating and "un-invite" the Taiwan basketball team to the August tournament, I support the suggestion of some bloggers to roll out the red carpet instead. Ideally, political posturing to get favourable public votes and economic blackmailing should spare sports, but in the case of the Jones Cup "un-invitation" it should not be met with anger and desperate retaliation.

I say, let the Taiwanese team receive the Filipino hospitality, but let the Gilas team pulverize their aspiration to advance in the FIBA Asia Championships.

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