NCAA | Jones Cup |
Eliminations, Today - 2:00pm - San Juan Arena
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University of Perpetual Help System Dalta Altas/ (8-3)
Arellano University Chiefs (7-4)
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Eliminations, Today - 4:00pm - San Juan Arena
1st 2nd 3rd 4th
San Beda College Red Lions/ (9-2)
Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers (6-4)
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Gilas Pilipinas
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Wellington Saints
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South Korea
Chinese Taipei B
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Chinese Taipei A
Spartak Primorye
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Hamed Hadadi of Iran. FIBA

Day 6 of the William Jones Cup 2015 may wind down as the pivotal point of the tournament, with the top teams slated to play each other. However, there's probably no game that weighs more importance than the upcoming showdown between Asian hoops powerhouse Iran and the Philippines at 1:00 p.m (GMT 8+).

Both boasting impressive records after five days of intense basketball competition, Iran (4-1) and the Philippines (3-1) are expected to use this latest confrontation as measuring stick to gauge where they at now in their preparation for the FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China later this month.

Of course, these teams are still not playing at full strength. The Philippines are campaigning without naturalized center Andray Blatche, who took a leave of absence to attend his uncle's funeral. The former Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards forward is expected to suit up for the Philippines at FIBA Asia joust. Meanwhile, the Iranians are missing the service of veteran winger Samad Nikkahah Bahrami for undisclosed reasons.

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Ty Lawson, right, says he's excited about playing in Houston, "a situation where I know I have a chance to win." Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post/Getty Images

Newly acquired starting point guard Ty Lawson said the trade from the Denver Nuggets to the Houston Rockets will be a fresh start and that he's the missing piece the team needs in its quest to reach the NBA Finals.

"Oh yeah, for sure," Lawson told Fox 26 Houston. "I was like, before I even came to the team, I was talking to James Harden. I was like, 'Man get me over there.' I'll be that piece to get over the hump. It's definitely a breath of fresh air."

The Rockets dealt four backup players to the Nuggets in the July deal. As part of the trade, Lawson agreed to make the final year of his contract in the 2016-17 season worth $13.2 million, non-guaranteed.

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It sounds like the Lakers' second-year guard is going to represent the Philippines. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Clarkson is expected to add on to his growing basketball resumé as the Los Angeles Lakers have cleared the young guard to play for the Philippines national team in FIBA play, reports Nick Gianco of Tempo. Clarkson was named to the 24-man roster for Gilas Pilipinas, but is still awaiting final word on whether FIBA will allow him to play for the national team. He was also waiting for word on whether or not the Lakers would allow him to extend his basketball activities outside of Los Angeles.

Clarkson has until Sep. 28 to play for Gilas, giving him an opportunity to make his mark in the FIBA Asia tournament once his eligibility is confirmed by the international organization. The Lakers expressed no qualms with Jordan playing in the tourney, so long as he's back in Los Angeles before media day and training camp begins near the end of September.

Gilas Pilipinas is slated to play its first game on Sept. 23, with follow up games on the 24, 25 and 27 that Clarkson could potentially play in. This would allow Jordan a few games to test the international waters while giving a glimpse of his training progress. Lakers public relations manager John Black said the organization has "no issue" with him playing for Gilas so long as he returns to Southern California by the 28th.

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SBP to reach out to ROS again, hopes to get Paul Lee for Gilas (September 03, 2015)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Paul Lee was a revelation for Gilas during his previous stints in the Fiba Asia Cup in China and the World Cup in Spain. PBA Images

TAIPEI – The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has one other player in mind it wants to complete the Gilas Pilipinas pool, a no-brainer in Paul Lee.

That’s why the cage body will be extending the same privilege it did on June Mar Fajardo that it would wait, only on Lee’s case, SBP vice chair Ricky Vargas will try to woo Rain or Shine owners again into releasing the phenomenal point guard for national team duty.

“When we come home, I will ask Mr. (Terry) Que and Mr. (Raymond) Yu for Lee. We will reach out to them again,” Vargas said on Wednesday morning, shortly before leaving for the airport to board a flight to Los Angeles where they will meet with the Lakers and Jordan Clarkson’s family.

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Jett Manuel vows UP is ‘really going to go up’ in UAAP season 78 (September 03, 2015)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Returning Jett Manuel. photo

After two years of absence, Jett Manuel is ready to take on the challenge of leading the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons once again in the UAAP season 78.

“I’m excited for the team,” the 22-year-old guard said on Wednesday during the Smart Elite press conference in Makati.

“It’s not just a return for me. It’s also a new program for the team. New management and new coaches in place, so it’s really an exciting time for the UP community.”

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Abueva getting used to love from fans as part of Gilas (September 03, 2015)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Calvin Abueva of Gilas Pilipinas. @Sports5 twitter account photo

TAIPEI — When in the PBA, Calvin Abueva couldn’t care less whether the fans like him or not. The jeers, he said, make him a lot better player.

But playing as one of the crowd-darlings of the Gilas Pilipinas squad in the 2015 Jones Cup here, Abueva is relishing the moment, and the love that mostly Overseas Filipino Workers are giving him, he swears, is making him smarter.

“Oo, mas nakakataba ng utak yun,” Abueva said after Wednesday morning practice where the Nationals perfected three new offensive sets for their 3 p.m. match with the Japanese national team at Xinchuang gymnasium here.

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Moala Tautuaa of Gilas Pilipinas. @Sports5 twitter account photo

Gilas Pilipinas has been consistently improving as shown by their back-to-back victories over Russia and Japan in the 2015 William Jones Cup.

Coach Tab Baldwin believes the resolve of his players to overcome the intimidating Russians helped them in their game against the Japanese.

“The bonding from the battle (against Russia) may have flowed to the spirit of the team,” said Baldwin. “The team is enjoying a great spirit. They’re enjoying each other’s company. Off-court chemistry is flowing on the court. They’re taking well that of being a member of the national team, and that’s what we’re supposed to do.”

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International Basketball

Lebanon has withdrawn participation from the inaugural edition of the MVP Cup, a tournament that will serve as the final buildup of the Philippine national men’s basketball team for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.

Lebanon cited “unexpected circumstances” as a reason behind the pullout, according to MVP Sports Foundation executive Chot Reyes.

The news comes on the heels of the reported retirement of Lebanese star Fadi El-Khatib from the national team. Now 35, he led his team to the West Asia Basketball Championship crown last May.

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Romeo in pursuit of childhood dream as he tries to make Gilas cut (September 03, 2015)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

Philippines’ Terrence Romeo (right) continues to dazzle in the 2015 Jones Cup. Romeo’s game-high 23 points however, weren’t enough to lift Gilas Pilipinas, which dropped an 82-70 decision Monday night at Xinchuang gymnasium in Taipei. Chinese Taipei Basketball Association photo

TAIPEI – Terrence Romeo is chasing a dream, and despite his very fine showing after three games in the 2015 Jones Cup here, knows he has a long way’s to go to fulfill it.

Never considered for national team inclusion despite a prolific collegiate career with Far Eastern in the UAAP, Romeo is making it no secret that he wants to crack the Final 12 of Gilas Pilipinas for the Fiba Asia that it is almost an obsession.

“This is my dream, my childhood dream,” Romeo said in Filipino on Wednesday after the Nationals’ morning practice. “That’s why I am giving it my best every game and I won’t stop.”

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Ranidel de Ocampo. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

MANILA, Philippines -- Although Gilas Pilipinas will be playing its fourth straight game in as many days in the William Jones Cup on Wednesday, forward Ranidel de Ocampo isn’t complaining at all, even if it would mean spending additional time with the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) at the Xinjuang Gymnasium in Taipei.

De Ocampo, who just recently recovered from a hamstring injury, said the presence of Filipinos fans at the gymnasium every game day is what pumps them up as they use the tournament to prepare for next month’s Fiba-Asia men’s championships.

“Proud kami lagi, basta para sa mga kababayan natin. Lagi kasi sila nandiyan kahit busy sila. Gumagawa sila ng paraan basta para sa Gilas,” De Ocampo told on Tuesday night.

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