MANILA, Philippines — Shooting lights out from the three-point area and Marcus Douthit having his way, the Philippines was just too much for Japan to stop Monday night.
Smart Gilas Pilipinas, reeling from a 79-84 loss to Chinese Taipei in a game the Nationals should’ve won after holding a 13-point lead with only a quarter left to play, rode on its hot-shooting to torch the Japanese, 90-71.
“I’m a firm believer that in life once you stumble you should get up. We stumbled the last time and we got up,” said Philippines coach Chot Reyes.
“We just wanted to show that we really wanted to bounce back,” said stretch forward Ranidel de Ocampo, who alone connected on three out of four triples to finish with nine points to go along with two rebounds, a pair of assists and a couple of steals. “There’s no time to get tired and we really have to be focused on our next games.”
Overall, the Nationals, who drew 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks from Douthit, made 12 out of their 20 attempts from long range with Jeff Chan rebounding from a zero-point outing against Taiwan with 16 points on four-of-five shooting from deep.
“The reason Marcus (Douthit) was able to dominate was because the other players did their jobs also to get him opportunities,” said Reyes.
“Important game for us today and we’re very disappointed but we still have games left. We couldn’t stop the outside shooting of the Philippine national team,” said Japan big man Kosuke Takeuchi after recording 17 points and nine rebounds through an interpreter.
“We regret that we couldn’t play our basketball. We were down 10 points at the half and we couldn’t stop their outside shooting,” echoed Japan head coach Kimikazu Suzuki. “They kept their style. We gave them a lot of points off turnovers. We have two more games left we will focus on the rest of the games.”
With the Japanese five still in reach, de Ocampo and Alapag stretched Gilas’ lead to double-digits, 44-34, late in the second quarter.
The Philippines was just heating up.
Chan opened up the third quarter with two treys to break the game wide open, 52-36. He buried another one to make it, 71-47, minutes after.
Captain Jimmy Alapag put the anxiousness away with his own three with just a little over four minutes remaining before Gary David finally joined the party from the right corner for 90-67 advantage as the crowd cheered him on “Gary! Gary! Gary!” the moment he came back into the game in the final minutes up to the final horn.
“Siyempre ilang laro na medyo nawawala si Gary (David). Malaking bagay yung nangyari sa sakanya. Naka-shoot siya kahit papaano hopefully ma-carry over niya yun sa next game,” said de Ocampo.