On July 20, 1987, the Philippine national team hardly broke a sweat after winning by forfeit over a no-show Saudi Arabian five at the 11th Jones Cup basketball tournament at the Chunghua gymnasium in Taipei.
The Filipinos and the Arabians were set to clash on this playdate but the non-arrival of the Middle East team forced tournament organizers to cancel their participation.
As a result, the Philippine national team was pushed into a crucial encounter against a tall Australian team for the top position in Group B heading into the championship round of the tournament.
With Saudi Arabia’s forfeiture, the Filipinos and the Australians were left to dispute the top spot. The winner will tote a 1-0 win-loss record in the carry-over eight-team final round while the loser will advance with a 0-1 record.
However, then-coach Joe Lipa remained wary of the development, knowing that the Filipinos could find themselves on the losing end.
“First, it deprived us of the chance to scout Australia which was to face Saudi tomorrow,” the PH coach stated at the time in a report by the Manila Bulletin.
“Second, with the usual opening day jitters, the Arabians would have been a relatively lighter assignment. We could have, by the time we meet Australia, adjusted.”
The Filipinos faced tall odds against a bigger Aussie team that had players with an average height of 6-foot-4 with no player standing below 6-feet.
Among the players Australia had at the time were the 6-foot-8 Dale Roberts as well as three 6-foot-6 players.
The Philippines was not given much of a chance due to the presence of powerhouse opponents and the absence of naturalized players which was the key to past wins in 1981 and 1985.
The Philippines eventually bowed to Australia, 98-89, on July 23, 1987.
Glen Capacio led the losing cause of the Philippine team at the time with 29 points. Alvin Patrimonio and Isabelo Lastimosa chipped in 16 and 15 points respectively.
Other members of the PH team at the 11th Jones Cup included Ronnie Magsanoc, Venancio “Benjie” Paras, Jerry Codinera, Joey Guanio, Dindo Pumaren, Nelson Asaytono and Zaldy Realubit.