The Philippines will sit out an international basketball tournament in July after a decision by a sports association in Taiwan deferring the Southeast Asian nation’s team from the court.
The Chinese Taipei Basketball Association, which hosts the annual William Jones Cup, said it has decided to follow the government’s instruction not to invite the Philippine team “due to tense relations” over the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine coastguards, reports AFP.
“It’s a pity as the Philippines had participated in 24 out of 35 tournaments in the past and the box office for games featuring the Philippines was pretty good,” Michael Lee, a spokesman for the association, told AFP.
“However, we have to abide by the government’s decision because we need government support to organize the tournament,” Lee said.
Philippines Basketball Association commissioner Chito Salud expressed regret over that his country would not be able to defend its title as last year’s Jones Cup winner.
Tensions soared after a 65-year-old Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead on May 9 after Philippine coastguards opened fire during a brush in disputed waters. Taiwan has rejected claims that the shooting took place in Philippine waters and that the killing was “unintended”, resulting to sanctions slapped on the Philippines.