Like PH, other countries also sent their B teams in Jones Cup
TAIPEI — It’s not only the Philippines that didn’t send its best for the Jones Cup, with the timing of the event not really friendly to two more prestigious regional contests for the remainder of the year.
Asian sides priming up for the continental championship in August and the start of the World Cup Qualifying later this year, save for the host nation, have opted to send their second teams to this 10-team, nine-nation event to develop talents for the future.
Regional power Iran, the champion here in five of the last eight years, sent its ‘B’ team as the 12 players in its roster vie for two slots to the national team proper where they will get to play with the likes of Hamed Haddadi and Nikha Bahrami.
Japan’s biggest star, Jojie Takeuchi, stayed home, according to Japanese media here, together with some of the team’s regulars as its 24-Under squad is thrown into the fire which will give coaching staff an idea on who can make it to the regular squad.
Long-time Gilas tormentor South Korea has assembled a team made up of a couple of national team players led by Lee Jong-hyun.
Coached by 1990s national team star Hur Jae, the Koreans are also tipped to contend in the Asian Championship.
It’s no secret that Gilas Pilipinas left a lot of its best players back home – to the disappointment of Canada 150 coach Kyle Julius – as the country has put a premium on the World Cup Qualifying starting in November.
“I’d be afraid to play your best team in the future,” Julius said after posting a 90-77 win on Saturday.
“This is part of the program, the aim is continuously upgrade the pool of talent, that’s why we have the young guys here,” Gilas coach Chot Reyes said. “It’s important to have a lot of players to rely on in the national team in the future.”
Chinese Taipei is using this tournament to sharpen its “A” and “B” teams – which Gilas plays successively starting Sunday – as even its second team is beefed up by an import in Kyle Barone and coached by Charles Parker.
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