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Panlilio on squeezing Jones Cup to Gilas schedule: "It's quite challenging"

Gilas may possibly not participate in the Jones Cup. Rick Johnsen Dela Cruz (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Al Panlilio admitted that it could be hard to add the Jones Cup to Gilas Pilipinas' schedule in its preparation for the FIBA World Cup.

"The Jones Cup is quite challenging because it's from July 12-21. It's 10 days, masyadong matagal," Panlilio said in a press conference that followed the monthly Philippine Basketball Association board meeting at the league's office in Quezon City on Friday. "Baka medyo mahirap mag-participate doon sa Jones Cup."

He added, "Grueling yung Jones Cup. Eight or nine games straight yun. Sabi nga ni Comm Willie [Marcial] kanina, the teams naman don't show their cards."

However, Panlilio, who is the representative of Meralco in the PBA board, clarified, "I haven't spoken to Yeng [Guiao] yet since yesterday, [but] I promised the board that I still have to sit down with Yeng to really understand the program."

But Panlilio added that Gilas will not be lacking tuneup action as the SBP is looking for other avenues for the national team to get into action should the Jones Cup will indeed be ruled out.

"One of them is maybe organize a mini-tournament or friendlies.... That might be a better option," Panlilio bared, getting inspiration from a series of friendlies Gilas had against Jordan and Lebanon ahead of their gearing up for the fifth window of the qualifiers.

"We have more control on the schedule," he further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno