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2015 Master Game Face MVP Cup: Survival Kit



Four teams square off in the 2015 Master Game Face MVP Cup which shall open on Friday, September 11 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Gilas Pilipinas headlines the cast of squads, as they continue to prepare for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China from September 23 to October 3.

The MVP Cup serves as a training ground for the team, which recently announced their final 12 and also an opportunity for the Philippine-based fans to get a glimpse of the Gilas squad before the team leaves for the FIBA Asia joust.

Gilas will face New Zealand club team Wellington Saints, the Chinese Taipei national team, and PBA squad Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in the tournament.

Before four teams see action in the MVP Cup, here is a backgrounder on all four squads.

Gilas Pilipinas

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Master Game Face MVP Cup: Survival Kit

The Philippine national basketball team is gearing for a shot at the 2016 Olympic basketball tournament in Rio de Janeiro and winning the FIBA Asia gold gives them an outright spot.

Head coach Tab Baldwin named his final 12, composed of Andray Blatche, Asi Taulava, Sonny Thoss, Ranidel de Ocampo, Marc Pingris, Gabe Norwood, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Calvin Abueva, JC Intal, Dondon Hontiveros, Jayson Castro, and Terrence Romeo.

After a silver medal finish in the 2015 William Jones Cup, Gilas wants to further improve on their on-court chemistry and to fine-tune its game heading into the most important battle this year.

Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Master Game Face MVP Cup: Survival Kit

The reigning PBA Commissioner’s Cup champions are preparing for the next PBA season which unfolds on October, and this is a tournament to test their new acquisitions and check how they will blend with the team.

Rookies Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario plus guard Denok Miranda are among the new faces in the TNT lineup. With Castro and De Ocampo among those with Gilas, these names will likely get most of the playing time.

With Jimmy Alapag and Kevin Alas already with Meralco and NLEX, respectively, this would be a good test for Miranda to see how he fits and what his role will be with the squad for the upcoming season.

Chinese Taipei

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Master Game Face MVP Cup: Survival Kit


The Chinese Taipei national team made a big splash in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship in Manila, thanks to the addition of Quincy Davis III, the team’s naturalized player.

Davis was the fifth leading scorer of the tournament, averaging 14.7 points per game while also adding 9 rebounds per outing. He had 5 double-doubles throughout that edition of the FIBA Asia helping Taipei place 4th, only a win short of making the World Cup.

Davis’ entry also allowed Tseng Wen-Ting to slide at the 4 spot and concentrate on his outside game. For so long, Tseng has been manning the center spot but now, he has the luxury of being the main four guy of the team.

The key win was a 96-78 trouncing of powerhouse China in the quarterfinals of that tournament, a statement win which echoed throughout Asia.

Another player to watch is Lin Chih-Chieh, Taipei’s all-around wing guy who can hit from anywhere on the floor. Lin averaged 10.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, and 4.9 APG in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.

Both were part of the bronze-medal winning Taipei squad in the recent Jones Cup.

Wellington Saints

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times 2015 Master Game Face MVP Cup: Survival Kit

The Wellington Saints are the runners-up of the 2015 season of the New Zealand NBL. They finished with a 12-6 card in the eliminations, defeated the Nelson Giants in the semi-finals but fell to Southland Sharks in the championship.

The Saints finished with a 3-5 card in the Jones Cup, good for 6th place.

Playing head coach Kevin Braswell did not have the strongest possible team for the Jones Cup, and went with a short rotation.

One thing is for sure, he knows who the go-to guys are in this crew.

Here are four names to look out for.

Big man Ray Turner led the Saints in the frontcourt, notching 3 double-doubles in the Jones Cup while averaging 15.6 PPG and 9.9 RPG. Another center, Bryan Davis, is their best offensive option in the froncourt as he put up 16.4 points a game.

In the backcourt, Brook Ruscoe and Eric Devendorf are the gunners expected to lead the New Zealand-based side. Ruscoe shot 37.1 percent from three-point area and averaged 10.8 points per outing, helping the team space the floor.

Devendorf meanwhile put up 17.3 points a game to lead the Saints in scoring, showing the ability to hit from anywhere on the floor and get to the free throw line several times with his aggressiveness.

Here is the full schedule of the MVP Cup:

September 11
4:15 PM Wellington Saints (New Zealand) vs Chinese Taipei
7:00 PM Gilas Pilipinas vs Talk ‘N Text

September 12
3:00 PM Talk ‘N Text vs Chinese Taipei
5:00 PM Wellington Saints vs Gilas Pilipinas

September 13
3:00 PM Wellington Saints vs Talk ‘N Text
5:00 PM Gilas Pilipinas vs Chinese Taipei

All games will be played at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

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