9 PBA rookies beef-up Gilas in Jones Cup stint
July 13, 2017
The come-backing Mac Belo and eight other PBA rookies lead the 17-man Gilas Pilipinas roster departing the country Friday noon for Taipei where they compete in the 2017 Jones Cup at the Taipei Peace International Basketball Hall starting Saturday. Von Pessumal, a fresh transferee from GlobalPort to San Miguel Beer, is also with the team with Alaska Milk’s Carl Bryan Cruz, Ginebra’s Kevin Ferrer, Phoenix Petroleum’s Matthew Wright, TNT KaTropa’s RR Pogoy, Rain or Shine’s Mike Tolomia, Star’s Jio Jalalon, Meralco’s Ed Daquiaog and NLEX’s Alfonso Gotladera. Fil-German Christian Standhardinger, Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Reymar Jose, Almond Vosotros, last-minute addition Ray Ray Parks and import Mike Myers complete the cast that will compete in the tough nine-day tourney that the country has won five times in the past. The Philippines is considered the defending champion following the successful title run last year of Mighty Sports, a Phl club team laden with former PBA imports. Two PBA selections, donning the national jersey, also ruled the annual Taipei international invitationals in 1998 under coach Tim Cone and in 2012 under coach Chot Reyes. The Phl national pool is making another Jones Cup stint in preparation for the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur on Aug. 19-30. Reyes said they have no room for error, and they have to take good care of every possession and play no-nonsense defense if they’re to fare well in the tourney. “They have to realize the urgency that almost every possession and every defensive cover is almost a matter of life and death because of the kind of competition we’re playing in Taipei,” said Reyes. “It’s very high level and we can’t afford costly mistakes,” added Reyes, anticipating nine days of severe tests the Gilas cadets will undergo through versus the hosts’ A and B teams, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Iraq, India, Team Canada 150 and Atletas All-Star Lithuania. Gilas starts its Jones Cup campaign versus Team Canada 150 at 3 p.m. Saturday.