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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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Baldwin's biggest Gilas dilemma (August 29, 2015)
Alder Almo [ Source: Philippine Star ]

FIBA Asia Championships

MANILA, Philippines -- Gilas Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin's biggest dilemma three weeks before the FIBA Asia Men's Championships is not whether Los Angeles Lakers' Fil-Am guard Jordan Clarkson could play or not for the national team.

But it's whether to stick with the dribble drive or his new system called "swing offense".

Before flying out to Taipei on Friday to compete in the annual William Jones Cup, Baldwin is still having second thoughts.  Asked how the Gilas players are fitting in to his system, Baldwin took a brief pause before answering.

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 Jordan Clarkson | AP

MANILA, Philippines – Wearing Gilas jersey No. 17, Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson was visibly active, full of energy in his second workout with the Philippine national training pool at the Meralco Gym Thursday night.

“He’s in high spirit. And why not? He’s sorted things out with his dad,” said a Gilas Pilipinas official, referring to Jordan's phone conversation with his dad Mike Thursday afternoon.

With Clarkson’s approval, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is still pursuing procedure that could lead to Clarkson suiting up with Gilas Pilipinas in the future or even in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship set Sept. 23-Oct. 3 in Changsha, China.

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SBP awaits FIBA decision (August 29, 2015)
Joaquin Henson [ Source: Philippine Star ]

FIBA Asia Championships

MANILA, Philippines - The deadline for the SBP to submit Gilas’ 12-man line-up to FIBA Asia falls on Sept. 8 so the presumption is before then, FIBA secretary-general Patrick Baumann will decide whether or not to allow Jordan Clarkson to play for the Philippines at the FIBA Asia Championships in Changsha on Sept. 23-Oct. 3.

FIBA’s clearance isn’t the only stumbling block for Clarkson to play in Changsha. Clarkson’s NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and his family must also agree. With time running out, the SBP is moving heaven and earth to secure the necessary clearances. Clarkson, meanwhile, has expressed willingness to join Gilas. If it doesn’t happen in Changsha, the SBP hopes the engagement will come eventually.

FIBA limits a national team to only one naturalized player but leaves the door open for players with dual nationalities because of lineage. In 2011, FIBA cracked down on countries that “localize” foreigners, zeroing in on Qatar for lining up at least five imports to play at the FIBA Asia Championships in Wuhan. Qatar’s imports were disqualified and it led to two forfeits in the eliminations because of a decimated roster.

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