The Philippine basketball scene was in shock today as Smart Gilas head coach Chot Reyes has officially announced via his Twitter account that the Philippine team won't be able to defend its crown in the upcoming 2013 Jones Cup Tournament, stemming from the feud between Taiwan and the Philippines regarding the fishermen slay. More than the opportunity to defend its crown, Chot Reyes is in dismay as the tournament is a big part of the team's preparation for the upcoming FIBA Asia Tournament.
This is an unfortunate event that erupted from being a political issue that has now spilled over to the sports side. The said shooting of Taiwanese fishermen took place off the Balintang Channel in Batanes last May 9, 2013. However, tensions remain between the two countries and now fans of the national basketball squad are reeling over these recent developments.
According to Chot Reyes, they now have to find a replacement tournament that they can join in in order to prepare for the 2013 FIBA Asia Competition.
Smart Gilas players and sports analysts also react via Twitter to the recent announcement by the organizers of the 2013 Jones Cup tournament:
Smart Gilas Pilipinas won its first Jones Cup tournament last year after 14 years (last time Philippines took home the Jones Cup trophy was in 1998) despite being pitted against a more favored United States team in a close 76-75 game.
What are your thoughts about Taiwan's decision to exclude Gilas Pilipinas from the Jones Cup lineup despite being the reigning champions?