PH to host four-nation MVP Cup as final tune-up before Fiba Asia
The Philippines will host a four-nation tournament as part of its buildup for the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship late September in China, former national basketball team head coach Chot Reyes announced on Tuesday.
Reyes said the competition dubbed “The MVP Cup” is slated from September 11-13 and will pit the Philippines against an All-Star selection of players from New Zealand, Lebanon’s national team and another Asian team which could be either China or Korea.
“We already have confirmation from New Zealand, Lebanon and we’re waiting for one more Asia country plus Gilas,” Reyes revealed, who is the head of Sports5 which will be organizing the tournament.
Reyes, who steered the Philippines to a silver-medal finish in the 2013 Fiba Asia and back to the world stage, hopes hosting such international basketball tournament would be a regular thing for the country.
“Hopefully if we’re able to do a good job of this we can make it an annual thing. And I think it’s about time that the country regularly hosts a top-notch Asian tournament,” Reyes said during an intimate interview with a select group of media at Raffles Hotel’s Spectrum Restaurant in Makati.
“And that’s only going to improve our standing in Asia and in the world in FIBA’s eyes if there’s a regular (tournament) like the Stanković Cup and the Jones Cup,” he added.
The team that ends up with the best record after the single-round robin format will earn $25,000.
“After hosting the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, I think the local basketball fans are hungry to watch top-notch international teams compete here,” said Reyes.
“This will be the only time that the country can watch Gilas live so we wanted to make sure that we’re able to organize something that will afford the Filipinos a chance to watch their national team play against the best in Asia. That’s gonna be Gilas’ final tune-up before they leave for FIBA Asia.”
Playing against a field that could possibly include the likes of China and Korea should serve as a good test for Gilas before leaving for the Fiba Asia Championship, which starts on September 23.
The Nationals aim to bring home the gold medal and the lone berth to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. CFC
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