Gilas five opens MVP Cup stint vs Texters | Inquirer Sports

Gilas five opens MVP Cup stint vs Texters

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 09:55 PM September 10, 2015

Gilas Pilipinas at the Jones Cup. INQUIRER Photo

Gilas Pilipinas at the Jones Cup. INQUIRER Photo

Gilas Pilipinas and Chinese Taipei enter the final phase of their respective preparations for the Fiba Asia Championship Friday when they slug it out against separate foes at the start of the four-team MVP Cup pocket tournament.

The Taiwanese start the ball rolling against the Wellington Saints of New Zealand in the 5 p.m. contest before Gilas, second to perennial tormentor Iran in the Jones Cup in Taipei last week, clashes with the PBA’s Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters at 7 p.m.


Both matches are scheduled at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.


Gilas defeated the Taiwanese and the Kiwis in the Jones Cup, both via narrow margins, and all eyes will be on how Andray Blatche will blend in the roster after coach Tab Baldwin had made the final cut on Tuesday.

Blatche did not play in the Jones Cup after flying back to the United States in a huff to attend the funeral of his uncle.

The Filipinos still held the fort even without the talented 6-foot-11 naturalized player, who has practiced for just a total of three days ever since returning on Monday evening.

Baldwin said during the press launch of the event yesterday that he will “start sharpening the pencil” in this tournament by not dividing playing time among the players, like he did in Taipei when he was still considering his Final 12.

“Now our concentration level really has to go up in terms of exactly which rosters are going to work best for us,” he said. “We should start sharpening the pencil now.”

The Fiba Asia, which will stake the lone continental berth for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year, will start on Sept. 23 in Changsha in China’s Hunan province.


After this tournament, Gilas will go into a secluded camp in Cebu.

“The next 10 to 12 days, this will be the difference, if it will work out or not (in the Fiba Asia),” Baldwin said. “We better not be peaking yet. The disruption during the buildup, the situation of Andray Blatche, we’re nowhere near our peak.

“The important thing is how we peak (during the Fiba Asia).”

Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario, picked 1-2 in the PBA Draft last month, will be playing for the Texters after failing to make the final Gilas roster.

Tomorrow, the Nationals battle the Saints at 5 p.m., also at the Big Dome, with Gilas seeking to repeat a 92-88 overtime victory where veterans Jason Castro, Dondon Hontiveros and Asi Taulava were the heroes.

Gilas closes out the event on Sunday against the Taiwanese, who beat the Filipinos the last time they clashed in Manila during the Fiba Asia World Cup qualifier.

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Team Philippines avenged that loss in Taipei, 77-69, exactly two weeks ago on Sunday.

TAGS: Andray Blatche, Basketball, Fiba Asia Championships, Gilas Pilipinas, MVP Cup, Sports, Tab Baldwin

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