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Gilas, SoKor renew rivalry in Jones Cup

GILAS Pilipinas takes on Asian nemesis South Korea on Monday in the annual William R. Jones Cup invitational basketball tournament at the New Taipei Hsinchuang Stadium in Taiwan.

The Filipinos and the Koreans tangle at 5 p.m., with the latter trying to snap a two-game losing streak in this eight-nation tournament.

South Korea bowed to International Basketball Federation (Fiba) Asia defending champion Iran in the opening day on Saturday, 46-77, then dropped a close 86-84 overtime decision to Russia’s club team on Sunday.

The PHL 5 was playing the host’s national team on Sunday night as of press time.

This is the first meeting for Philippines and South Korea since the former shocked the latter, 86-79, in the semifinals of the 2013 Asian Championship, which the country hosted.

That victory gave the Filipinos the berth for the 2014 Fiba World Cup of Basketball in Spain.

The PHL 5 of Head Coach Tab Baldwin is using the tournament for next month’s Asian Championship in Changsa, China, where at stake is the lone spot for Asia in next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

But the country’s stint in the Jones Cup started off on the wrong foot, as naturalized player Andray Blatche went back to the United States to attend the funeral of his uncle Steve and Baldwin said the former Brooklyn Nets forward will miss a majority of the games in the tournament.

The Iranians and the club team from Russia are currently leading the Jones Cup with identical 2-0 win-loss marks apiece.

The Sahalin pro team of Russia beat the Overtake USA Select squad, 84-65, on Saturday, then survived South Korea in overtime. Iran pulled off its second lopsided win in the tournament with an 88-66 rout of Taiwan’s cadet team.

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