Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas met with the Ateneo Blue Eagles during
a sendoff prior to the 40th staging of the William Jones Cup wherein
the defending UAAP champions and titlists in three preseason
tournaments will represent the country in the annual cage meet.“With the ongoing season for the Philippine Basketball Association
where all our national players are still participating, and our Gilas
Cadets all seeing action in various leagues, we felt that it was best
to send a team that has performed well and has the cohesion to
compete,” said Pangilinan.The William Jones Cup will be held from 14-22 July at the Xinzhuang
Gymnasium in New Taipei City, Taiwan.The appointment of Ateneo comes at a time when the national team is
taxed to the limit given the ongoing Fiba investigations after the
incident between the Philippines and Australia last July 2.
Veteran national and former Ateneo coach Joe Lipa confirmed that this
is the first time that a collegiate squad will represent the country.
The previous iterations might have had a more La Salle flavor to the
Northern Consolidated Squad but it also featured stars from other
schools such as San Beda and Letran as well as some naturalized
“The task will not be easy,” underscored Pangilinan. “Other teams will
also send their collegians but most will feature senior or junior
national teams aided by imports. But that is how we as Filipinos go
about it – as underdogs with a sense of purpose and a determination to
prove our worthwhile representing our country. In my opinion, that is
a powerful combination.”
Former Philippine national coach Tab Baldwin, who is currently the
Ateneo mentor will oversee the Philippines-Ateneo team’s campaign. The
Filipinos will only have freshman center Angelo Kouame from Ivory
Coast to battle the foreign behemoths.
Baldwin might possibly activate 6’5” Filipino-Canadian Matthew Daves
to give the Philippines some additional ceiling for the tournament.
“All we can do is give our very best and hope for the best,” summed up