Two years ago, the Philippine-Chinese Taipei relations have hit an all-time low after heightened tensions between both countries over the "shooting" death of a Taiwanese fisherman over the disputed seas north of the Philippines. As a consequence, the Chinese Taipei Basketball Association (their country's national basketball governing body) has declined invitation to Gilas Pilipinas (who was the then-defending champion) to participate in the 2013 William Jones Cup.


Historically, the Philippine national team have usually used this 40-year-old invitational tournament as a tune-up series to gauge possible opponents and trim down its pool for regional and other international tournaments. At that time, then-coach Vincent "Chot" Reyes have envisioned that stint in Taipei as a build-up to the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship (the qualifier for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain) to be held in Manila. Unfortunately, it didn't happened. Ironically, Tab Baldwin's boys are also facing the same dilemma of a short preparation and build-up for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship (the qualifier for the men's basketball competition of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil).

Fast-forward to 2015, Gilas was finally allowed to play in this prestigious tournament. Although it never succeeded in winning the title, there is this girl that captured the imagination of basketball fans of both countries - the lovely sports reporter Jenny Yu.

Who would have thought that the "Can I be your 'Juliet'" interview with golden boy Terrence Bill Romeo has become the "talk" among netizens out there. Perhaps, it is as viral as the highlight ankle breaker and MVP performance he did against Chinese Taipei in front of their hometown crowd. The unprepared Romeo blushed and was left speechless after the interview. He just ended up thanking the supporters of Gilas Pilipinas

It was just a matter of time before Filipino fans scoured the net for searches about her and what she's all about. Many have tried to reach out for Ms. Yu. I'm not sure how many marriage proposals she received. Some have even requested her to make the trip to Manila and cover her national team for the recently-concluded 2015 Gameface MVP Cup.

Who is Jenny Yu?

I was fortunate enough to get in touch with her and managed to talk to her on a variety of topics from her personal preferences to her professional experience as a sports reporter. I wouldn't be surprised that anyone would love to hang out with her.

Here is what we talked about:

JP: Hello Jenny! How are you doing? Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk with you and get to know you in behalf of your "new" Filipino fans out there.
Jenny: I'm doing great! I'm glad you asked.

JP: So Jenny, can you tell us about yourself and what do you do?
Jenny: I'm a sports reporter and anchor at Videoland Sport Inc. in Taiwan.

For a beautiful girl like her, she dresses simply.
JP: Have you ever dreamed of becoming a sports reporter? What made you become one?
Jenny: No, I have always dreamed of becoming a successful singer and dancer like Jolin Tsai. Plus my parents would love me working in the entertainment industry but they also encouraged me to try something else. I have always love being a sports reporter because you will always see positivity from the cheering and adoring fans to the wonderful performance the athletes bring whether to entertain the crowd or win the championship.

JP: Tell us about your online persona. Are you different in person than what we see of you online? What keeps you going in your online life? How do you separate your personal and public life?
Jenny: As an anchor, I need to try different fashion styles in order to showcase a different sides of me. Even though the public sees me quite regularly on television, I still keep myself grounded and have a simple fashion style. I love t-shirts and jeans!

The Interview with Terrence Bill Romeo
JP: If you have superpowers, what powers do you want to have? Why?
Jenny: Invisible powers! So I can hide myself anytime. When I want to stay away or take a break from my busy life, I can just do it whenever I want to.
JP: Wow! Just like Invisible Woman from the Fantastic Four.
Jenny: Exactly! ;)
JP: Well to be honest, you're like the female version of Clark Kent (Superman) because you look cute with that preppy look (with your glasses on) and equally lovely without it.
Jenny: Oh really?
JP: Yeah!

The Preppy or The Sweetheart?
JP: Many Filipinos have been asking on Twitter if you have plans to visit the Philippines to cover the games of your team Chinese Taipei in the 2015 MVP Cup. What do you have in mind?
Jenny: Well, I don't think I could make it because I'm busy with work. I have already posted it on my Facebook fan page. I would love to go but my current schedule doesn't allow me to. Maybe a vacation in the future I suppose.

JP: You seem to be enjoying your job and I think you're good at it. So aside from basketball, what sports do you play?
Jenny: Oh, is darts included?
JP: Yeah, you already bull's eyed Terrence's heart. Hehe!
Jenny: Hahaha!

JP: As a sports reporter, who is the person that you dream of interviewing?
Jenny: Serena Williams.
JP: Have you seen her in person? Like up close?
Jenny: No...
JP: Too bad. How about Jeremy Lin?
Jenny: Oh I did interview him so many times. I even played darts with him.

If Cupid has a bow and arrow, Jenny has darts to hit your heart!
JP: Do you collect autographs on celebrities?
Jenny: Actually, I don't have one. Hahaha!
JP: What is your treasured souvenir from someone famous?
Jenny: The only souvenir that I have right now was from the Cleveland Cavaliers' mascot Sir CC.

JP: If you can go back in time, which event do you want to change and why?
Jenny: I would say, I want to go back to June 2010 when I picked up my dog from the hospital after a 10-day trip.
JP: That's quite long isn't it?
Jenny: Yes. The sad and unfortunate thing has happened after I went out for dinner when I dropped him off at home. Three hours later when we got back home, I found him by the door already dead.
JP: I'm sorry to hear that!
Jenny: It was tough but I'm very much OK now.

She's also a dog lover
JP: And the million-dollar question - Are you single?
Jenny: Yes.

JP: Who is your celebrity crush?
Jenny: Stephen Curry.
JP: If you do get to interview him, will get nervous?
Jenny: Of course, I'll be nervous! Super!!
JP: He actually visited Manila. I'm not sure if he will visit Taipei but if you do get to interview him, you are so lucky.
Jenny: I know. I think he's visiting Shanghai this week.
JP: Don't forget Riley as well.
Jenny: She is so adorable!

JP: Since you have thought about visiting the Philippines, are you interested to check out the beaches?
Jenny: I'm not much of an outdoor person. Shopping mall is better.
JP: I see. We have lots of big shopping malls here. I guess, you're not into nature and you're a city girl I suppose.

JP: By the way, were you surprised that many people are still talking about your interview with Terrence?
Jenny: Very! Super surprised.
JP: It's still trending on Twitter until now.
Jenny: Wow that's amazing.

JP: So the fans keep asking when are you coming to the Philippines?
Jenny: Lol, yeah. I find it very cute.
JP: Any definite date or plan?
Jenny: They want me to go to the MVP Cup.
JP: Yes, they are. It's on September 11-13.
JP: Your Filipino fans want to see you in person...maybe Terrence will be looking for you as well! And I'm sure you'll be free anytime soon right?
Jenny: If I do, I'll definitely tell everyone!

Care for a cup of coffee?
JP: I appreciate you for taking the time to talk to me. Do you have any message to your fans?
Jenny: Thank you for supporting me, I'll keep up the good work and stay beautiful!

Here is what she has to say to all Filipino fans out there and to the special guy.

An awesome interview with the lovely Jenny Yu.
Posted by Istoryadista on Monday, September 14, 2015

Want to know more about Jenny, like her on Facebook!

Two weeks from now, Gilas Pilipinas will be tested as it begins its campaign in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China. This continental tournament will serve as the qualifying round for Asia in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Interestingly, the Philippines debuted at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where it placed 5th - the highest finish for an Asian team, and last played in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.

We all know that the national team has suffered from scheduling issues and player backouts that ultimately decimated the national pool and drastically shortened its preparation time. Coach Tab Baldwin has a lot of things to consider before finally announcing the final lineup a few days from now. Whatever happens, the players included on the national team will get their hands full against the best teams in Asia. I'm sure they will play all out and do whatever it takes to achieve their goal of qualifying for the Olympics for the first time. I know it's a tall order but only the tournament winner will have an outright berth to Rio while the next three finishers will have to play in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament with the venues still to be determined (I just hope we host one of these tournaments, after all we were a finalist in the World Cup hosting bid).

With an open mind, here is what the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship will play out:


Group A
IRI 3-0 - Iran will obviously top this group in dominating fashion.
JAP 2-1 - Japan will only lose to Iran and the rest would be comfortable wins.
IND 1-2 - India won't have their lone NBA player, they will only get a win over minnows Malaysia.
MAS 0-3 - A good learning experience for an overpowered squad.

Group B
PHI 3-0 - Philippines will definitely top this group but will have a couple of scares and slow starts.
PAL 2-1 - With Omar Krayem scoring heavy, Palestine will have a promising debut.
KUW 1-2 - It would be a battle against Hong Kong for the final slot.
HKG 0-3 - It would be a heart-breaking end for Hong Kong's campaign with a tight loss to Kuwait.

Group C
CHI 2-1 - Despite the homecourt advantage, China will lose one either to South Korea or Jordan.
KOR 2-1 - This will be three-way battler for the top seed, South Korea will beat Jordan.
JOR 2-1 - Jordan will drop to third with inferior quotient.
SIN 0-3 - Unfortunately, this team will be mowed down into submission.

Group D
LIB 2-1 - Lebanon will scrape a hard-fought prelims in this group of death.
TPE 2-1 - Chinese Taipei will lose the top spot via quotient or winner over the other.
KAZ 1-2 - The disputed final slot will be decided on the final game.
QAT 1-2 - Qatar will drop the tournament with an inferior quotient against Kazakhstam.

* - Group B has the easiest draw and will be favorable for the Philippines while Group D is considered as the Group of Death.


Group E
IRI 5-0 - Iran will again top the group despite heavy opposition from the Philippines.
PHI 4-1 - A hard-fought loss against Iran will relegate Gilas to second place.
JAP 3-2 - This young team will overcome Palestine for the third seed.
PAL 2-3 - Palestine will continue its promising debut by rounding up the group.
IND 1-4 - India will run out of gas as stronger teams outplay and outlast them.
KUW 0-5 - Kuwait will wind up winless in the second round and bow out of the tournament.

Group F
CHI 4-1 - In another group of death, China will scrape through the top spot.
LIB 4-1 - Lebanon will lose out the top seed due to inferior quotient.
KOR 3-2 - South Korea will edge out Jordan for third place.
JOR 3-2 - Jordan will round out the top four qualifiers.
TPE 1-4 - Chinese Taipei will go down fighting.
KAZ 0-5 - Kazakhstan will go home winless in the second round and bow out of the tournament.

* - Most of the best teams are in Group F and it would be unpredictable as to what team will finish in a particular order. The Philippines will probably have to aim finishing the top of its group. It doesn't even guarantee them a better draw in the knockout stages.


For 13th to 16th Place
MAS vs HKG - Malaysia will beat Hong Kong.
SIN vs QAT - No doubt, Qatar is way too much for Singapore.

13th Place Game
HKG vs QAT - Qatar will clinch 13th place

15th Place Game
MAS vs SIN - In this Causeway Derby, Singapore will beat Malaysia.

For 9th to 12th Place
IND vs KAZ - India will be no match for the taller Kazakhstan team.
KUW vs TPE - Chinese Taipei will edge out Kuwait.

9th Place Game
KAZ vs TPE - Chinese Taipei will clinch 9th place.

11th Place Game
IND vs KUW - India will clinch 11th place.

IRI vs JOR - An interesting matchup but Iran will prove stronger than Jordan.
LIB vs JAP - Lebanon will have an easy time against Japan.
CHI vs PAL - Palestine is no match for China.
PHI vs KOR - The Philippines will go all out in this grudge match game against South Korea.

For 5th to 8th Place
JOR vs JAP - Jordan will edge out Japan in this competitive matchup.
PAL vs KOR - South Korea will bounce back against Palestine.

For 1st to 4th Place
IRI vs LIB - It will go either way but Lebanon will lose to Iran in a down-the-wire finish.
CHI vs PHI - It's unfortunate but homecourt advantage will prove to be the Philippines worst enemy.

7th Place Game
JAP vs PAL - Japan will clinch 7th place.

5th Place Game
JOR vs KOR - Jordan will clinch 5th place.

3rd Place Game
LIB vs PHI - Lebanon will beat a heartbroken Philippine team to clinch 3rd place.

IRI vs CHI - Despite having full homecourt support, Iran will defend its FIBA Asia title and clinch the lone outright berth to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil.

* - China, Lebanon and the Philippines will qualify for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament along with the losing finalists from FIBA Americas, Afrobasket, Eurobasket and Oceania.
** - As the losing bidder for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the Philippines should host this tournament.

Gold - Iran (9-0)
Silver - China (7-2)
Bronze - Lebanon (7-2)
4th Place - Philippines (6-3)
5th Place - Jordan (6-3)
6th Place - South Korea (5-4)
7th Place - Japan (5-4)
8th Place - Palestine (3-6)
9th Place - Chinese Taipei (4-4)
10th Place - Kazakhstan (2-6)
11th Place - Kuwait (2-6)
12th Place - India (2-6)
13th Place - Qatar (3-2)
14th Place - Hong Kong (1-4)
15th Place - Singapore (1-4)
16th Place - Malaysia (0-5)

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