Article by: Abhi Kottamasu
In early September, the world-renowned international basketball tournament known as the William Jones Cup began in Taipei, Taiwan. The tournament is named in honor of basketball promoter Renato William Jones, who was one of the founders of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). In this tournament, each participating nation is represented by one team, which can be either the national team, youth team, a club team, or an all-star selection. In the past, the Philippines has sent both all star teams and club teams; however, this year, the Philippines opted to send its prestigious national team.
After a three-year absence following their triumph in the 2012 William Jones Cup, the Philippines returned to the tournament, while paving their way to the ultimate goal of 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Until recently, the men’s version of this tournament has been dominated by American teams since the tournament’s inaugural stages. The Philippine National team, also known as Gilas Pilipinas, displayed astounding success in 2015 by bringing home the silver medal. The Philippines finished the tournament with a 6-2 record for second place. Iran finished with a 7-1 win-loss card to clinch the gold. The only losses by the Philippines were to perennial rival South Korea and the 2013 Fiba Asia, and now 2015 Williams Jones Cup Champion team, Iran.
Despite the few losses, this year marks great triumph for the Philippines, as the team’s performance won the nation’s first ever silver medal in the competition, adding to their four gold medals and three bronze medals from previous years. The team consisting of high caliber players including standouts such as Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, and Calvin Abueva must certainly have had hopes to build upon their success in the William Jones Cup coming into the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship. These hopes surpassed simple wishes and became reality as Gilas Pilipinas beat India 99-65, and swept the second round to take the number one spot in Group E. The team will now face Lebanon in the quarterfinals on October 1st, with hopes to move one step closer to a gold medal berth which would guarantee them a spot at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. We wish the Gilas Pilipinas the best of luck in their future endeavors and hope to see them in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Galvez, Fiona Queen. “PBA FULL REPLAY.” WILLIAM JONES CUP 2015: PHILIPPINES VS CHINESE TAIPEI. N.p., 30 Aug. 2015. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.
Daniels, Tim. “William Jones Cup Standings After Tuesday.” Bleacher Report. Turner Sports Network, 1 Sept. 2015. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.