The mission is tough and dangerous, so Rain or Shine is leaving for Taipei on Friday for the 42nd William Jones Cup with a modest goal.
For one, the two-time Philippine Basketball Association champion will be facing a formidable field, including the national teams of three top Middle East nations and the region’s top ball clubs in the nine-day tournament which formally unwraps on Saturday.
The Elasto Painters even don’t have an idea as to what kind of opposition they will be facing although the Yeng Guiao-mentored squad is certainly not the type to back down from a challenge.
So, expect the Raymond Yu and Terry Que-owned franchise to go all-out in its bid to defend the country’s title in the Jones Cup which was last won by an import-laden Mighty Sports team back in 2019.
Rain or Shine governor Atty. Mert Mondragon expressed his confidence that the team will put its best foot forward, hoping not only to represent the PBA well but also showcase the Filipino brand of play on the international stage.
“We will be up against some very tough teams, taller and quicker, even national teams. We are not promising anything but I’m sure that our guys will not back down from a challenge and will fight to represent the PBA, and the country well,” Mondragon said.
Reinforcing the team are Gilas Pilipinas’ Ange Kouame and American import Nick Evans along with the young core of Rey Nambatac, Anton Asistio, Santi Santillan, Andrei Caracut, Gian Mamuyac and Shaun Ildefonso.
Veterans Gabe Norwood, Jewel Ponferrada and Beau Belga are still expected to provide the leadership along with guys like Jhonard Clarito, Mac Belo, Nick Demusis and Mark Borboran.
Heading the delegation are Rain or Shine alternate governor Edison Oribina, Redmond Yu and Jireh Ibañez.
Rain or Shine is opening the tournament against the host Chinese Taipei for their first two games, Team A on 12 August and Team B the next day.
The Elasto Painters then lock horns with national teams of United Arab Emirates on the 14th, Qatar on the 15th and Iran on the 16th.
Rain or Shine also takes on the Korean Basketball League champion Anyang KGC on 17 August before taking a breather the next day. They will then wrap up the competition with a clash against the Japan U22 national team on 19 August and the US National Collegiate Athletic Association powerhouse University of California Irvine on 20 August.