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Andray Blatche is expected to miss majority of the 2015 Jones Cup to attend his uncle’s funeral and look after his sick mother. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Gilas Pilipinas will have to make do without naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche for the most part of its stint in the 2015 Jones Cup.

Blatche has reportedly left Taiwan to attend his uncle’s funeral and look after his sick mother in the US.

According to a report by Sports5’s Carlo Pamintuan, who’s in Taiwan, Blatche left at 10 a.m. on Saturday on the eve of the Philippines’ opening game against host Chinese Taipei-A.

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D-League

MELAKA, Malaysia — The Blackwater Elite showed some promise but still fell short against an import-laden Farmchochem TouchUp, 85-82, at the start of the 2015 Seri Mutiara Champions Cup at the Bukit Serindit MBMB Stadium here Friday night.

It was a tough loss for the Elite, who led by as many as 11 points, 71-60, off a basket by Gilbert Bulawan. But the Malaysians kept coming back led by Cameroonian import Chris Kuete who finished with 35 points after a scoring spree down the stretch.

Despite losing the opening game, head coach Leo Isaac showed a lot of positive things from the game. He also gave the rationale behind competing in this tournament by parading an all-Filipino cast.

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 Gilas coach Tab Baldwin has been through a lot in basketball that he believes the present national pool is able to compensate a little bit better than other teams. Efigenio Christopher Toledo

MANILA, Philippines -- Despite opening the training camp with a spate of injuries and illnesses among the members of the Gilas pool, national coach Tab Baldwin is glad to see the national team “find ways to compensate” as it prepares for next month’s Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Changsa-Hunan, China.

“I think in basketball, I’ve been through those scenarios before. You find ways to compensate. And because this is an excellent group of guys to work with and there’s a lot of experience in this team, we were able to compensate maybe a little bit better than other teams,” Baldwin said, before leaving for Taiwan with the rest of the national squad on Friday afternoon.

With Gilas drawing a bye on the first day of competitions in the annual William Jones Cup on Saturday, Baldwin has an extra day to work with the team, before engaging in a backbreaking eight-game schedule in as many days.

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Gilas Pilipinas off to Jones Cup. From Jimmy Alapag’s Instagram page

The Philippine national men’s basketball team left for Taipei, Taiwan on Friday to make a comeback in the William Jones Cup slated this weekend.

Coach Tab Baldwin brought all 17 players in the training pool with him. Leading the cast are Andray Blatche, Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, Gary David, Jimmy Alapag, Asi Taulava, Sonny Thoss, Dondon Hontiveros, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Aldrech Ramos, JC Intal, Troy Rosario, Moala Tautuaa, Ranidel De Ocampo and the returning Marc Pingris.

Fil-Am NBA player Jordan Clarkson is also part of the trip although he won’t suit up for the team.

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Growth, not gold, the goal for Gilas Pilipinas in Jones Cup (August 29, 2015)
Marisse Panaligan [ Source: GMA Network ]

William Jones Cup 2015

After a two-year absence in the William Jones Cup, the Philippines is back in action for the annual international tournament held in Taiwan.

The last time the country competed in 2012, Most Valuable Player LA Tenorio led Gilas Pilipinas to a championship with a stunning upset of 15-time gold medalist United States.

This year, however, Gilas coach Tab Baldwin is not concerned about duplicating the feat achieved by the squad formed by his predecessor Chot Reyes.

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Eagles eye board OK for Cani’s UAAP stint (August 29, 2015)
Jasmine W. Payo [ Source: Inquirer ]

UAAP

ATENEO hopes Hubert Cani gets to take the floor in the UAAP men’s basketball opening weekend as it pushes for the inclusion of the prized recruit in the Blue Eagles’ roster.

Ricky Palou, Ateneo’s representative to the UAAP Board, said yesterday it’s only “reasonable” to field Cani this season after President Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10676—also known as the Student-Athletes Protection Act—which includes the scrapping of the two-year residency rule for student-athletes.

“The reason why that law was passed is because the rule is not fair and unjust for student-athletes,” said Palou. “They passed the law, so why are we still sticking to the old rule?”

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Baldwin: Chemistry must be translated on the court (August 29, 2015)
Randolph B. Leongson [ Source: Inquirer ]

Tab Baldwin keenly observes Gilas during one of the team’s practices at Meralco Gym. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

There’s no question that the players have already developed chemistry off the court especially after going on a trip to Estonia.

But for Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tab Baldwin, the challenge now is for that togetherness among the players to be translated on the floor.

“We’re obviously very relaxed with one another as a team so we don’t have any chemistry issues in terms of the character, but we have to convert that into how we play and that’s what the tournament will be designed to do,” he said.

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PBA foes Abueva, Pingris now brothers at Gilas Pilipinas (August 29, 2015)
Marisse Panaligan [ Source: GMA Network ]

William Jones Cup

Marc Pingris and Calvin Abueva have a history of animosity toward each other on the court dating back to the latter's rookie year in the PBA three seasons ago.

With Abueva's aggressive play and Pingris' no-backing-down attitude, the two energetic forwards often found themselves at odds inside the court.

But now that Pinoy Sakuragi and The Beast are going to be wearing the same uniform playing for Gilas Pilipinas, the two have gladly set aside their differences for the sake of serving the flag.

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 There are plans for SBP President Manny V. Pangilinan to fly to Los Angeles to meet the Los Angeles Lakers' officials for Jordan Clarkson's possible release. File Photo

MANILA, Philippines -- The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) is working double time to get the Los Angeles Lakers' rising star Jordan Clarkson in Gilas lineup for the 2015 FIBA Men's Championship.

Clarkson's documents are now almost ready for submission to the FIBA Central Board. 

"At the moment, 95% complete.  ASAP (as soon as possible) ang timetable. But we can't send partial-partial lang. Kailangan isang padala and complete," Barrios told Philstar.com on Friday.

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Jim Buss not shutting door on Kobe Bryant's return (August 29, 2015)
Baxter Holmes [ Source: ESPN ]

Jim Buss says it will be Kobe Bryant's decision on whether he continues his career when his contract runs out after the 2015-16 season. Getty Images

Given Kobe Bryant's age and injury-riddled past, there is great intrigue about the star guard's health entering this upcoming season, but there is just as much intrigue -- if not more -- about whether it will be Bryant's final season with the Los Angeles Lakers -- or in the NBA.

Though the 37-year-old star guard is entering the final year of his contract, during which he'll be paid a league-high $25 million, Bryant has not said he'll retire at the end of the 2015-16 season, which will be his 20th season with the Lakers.

Instead, Bryant has repeatedly said he'll wait until the end of the season to make any decisions about his future, but his stance hasn't slowed speculation.

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