Lebanon pulls out from MVP Cup (Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines — The Lebanon national team has pulled out of the upcoming 2015 MVP Cup, leaving tournament organizer MVP Sports Foundation scrambling for a replacement in the four-nation pocket tournament scheduled from Sept. 11-13 in Manila.

Former Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes, who holds an executive position at the MVP Sports Foundation, confirmed the pullout at his official Twitter account @coachot.

“Lebanon NT backs out after officially confirming participation in the MVP Cup #smh,” Reyes wrote.

Reyes, who currently heads Sports5 as well, didn’t give any reason for Lebanon’s surprise decision, but promised a replacement soon.

“Stay tuned for the replacement team #neveragainvitethem,” he added.

Lebanon is making a comeback in the Asian basketball scene this year after failing to play in the 2013 Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Manila due to its national federation’s suspension.

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So far, confirmed to join the MVP Cup are Chinese Taipei and the Wellington Saints from New Zealand.

The MVP Cup will actually serve as Gilas Pilipinas’ last tournament, before plunging to action in the Fiba-Asia men’s championships in Changsa-Hunan, China starting on Sept. 23.

The Filipinos, currently campaigning in the William Jones Cup in Taipei, are eyeing for no less than the championship in this year’s Fiba-Asia cage joust.

The champion in the Asian basketball conclave earns an automatic spot in next year’s Rio Olympics in Brazil.