Since the collegiate season will be underway when Mighty Sports heads to Taiwan for the 2019 William Jones Cup, Charles Tiu and his staff tried to get some of the best locals available.
According to Tiu, UP’s Juan Gomez de Liano, Ateneo’s Thirdy Ravena, Benilde’s Justin Gutang, and even Arizona State’s Remy Martin were all on his radar.
Both De Liano and Ravena will be in the final stages of their preparation for the UAAP. Meanwhile, Gutang will be in the midst of the NCAA season come July 12 to 23.
“Remy Martin was also being considered and discussed, but we haven’t been able to contact him,” said Tiu regarding the 23 for 2023 Gilas Cadet.
That is why the Alex Wongchuking-owned tried to move heaven and earth to get Andray Blatche and Kai Sotto.
Mighty Sports wanted to help out with Blatche’s prep for the 2019 FIBA World Cup come September.
“With Andray, we can say that we wanted to help him also get another tournament in, and get him in tip-top form before the World Cup,” disclosed Tiu.
“But of course, we don’t want to interfere with the plans of Gilas.”
On the other hand, Sotto will be fresh from Gilas Youth’s campaign in the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup. However, his management advised Mighty Sports that the 7-foot-2 big man will have to return to the States for further training.
“With Kai, I was hoping after our World Cup stint, since we are together, I could get him to the Jones Cup,” said Tiu, who is an assistant coach for Gilas Youth. “But they opted to rest and just continue their training. So we respected their decision.
“Our goal was to give him more experience against some really good teams – some of which are heading to the Men’s World Cup.”
Mighty Sports also tried to get Macau Black Bears’ Fil-Am guard Mikh McKinney.
So far, Mighty Sports unveiled nine of the 12 players that will join them in the annual pocket tournament – namely Jeremiah Gray, Roosevelt Adams, Jason Brickman, Gab Banal, Joseph Yeo, Mikey Williams, Aaron Black, Renaldo Balkman, and Eugene Phelps.