MANILA, Philippines – It's championship or bust for the retooled Mighty Sports team representing the Philippines in the upcoming 41st William Jones Cup in Taiwan starting on Friday, July 12.
"[We want] nothing less than the championship," said guard Angelo Wongchuking.
With the team bannered by star imports like Renaldo Balkman and Eugene Phelps as well as savvy locals like Jason Brickman, Roosevelt Adams and Gab Banal, such goals are certainly well within reach.
Mighty Sports also made sure to run a tight ship on the sidelines, tapping youthful coach Charles Tiu to lead the way while being backed by pioneering Gilas Pilipinas tactician Rajko Toroman.
Despite their limited time to prepare for the annual tournament, Tiu is confident of their chances to come out on top after a grueling eight-game stretch in just 10 days.
"Talent-wise, we are very talented," Tiu said. "We have players who are so gifted offensively. Secondly, we have a very smart team and have played in a high level. We can also do a lot of things defensively."
"This is arguably the best team we have fielded."
Jeremiah Gray, Mikey Williams, Joseph Yeo and Aaron Black round up the locals while Hamady N'Diaye, Zach Graham and McKenzie Moore complete the imports for Mighty Sports.
Toroman, meanwhile, acknowledges the rude welcome awaiting his wards once the tournament kicks off.
"First 4 games, we have a very difficult schedule because the 4 games – Iran, Jordan, Korea and Japan," he said. "It’s very tough in the beginning and we are still not ready. It's better to play little bit easier games in the beginning than in the end, but that’s the schedule. We have to respect that."
Along with Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, South Korea and Japan are all expected to field their national teams for the competition. Two Chinese Taipei teams and the school-based University of British Columbia complete the Jones Cup cast.
Mighty Sports will first test their mettle against the imposing Iranians on Friday before facing Jordan on Saturday, July 13. – Rappler.com