FIBA Asia: Gilas Pilipinas defeats Hong Kong to clinch top spot in group E

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MANILA, Philippines — Philippines bucked an upset-minded Hong Kong, 67-55, to officially clinch top spot in group E Wednesday in the 27th FIBA Asia men’s championships at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Earlier, Qatar defeated Chinese Taipei, 71-68, in the other group E action to pave way for Smart Gilas Pilipinas’ rise to number one.

But the Filipinos needed time to set that in stone — posting its double-digit advantage for the first time with only 1:45 left on the clock to shake off the undaunted Hong Kong for good.

“They came out and pushed us and really challenged us to compete. They outhustled us for three and half quarters. We played poorly,” said Gabe Norwood who had 11 points and 10 boards for the Philippines.

It was expected by many to be a breeze for the host Philippines against a Hong Kong team which remains in search for their first win of the tournament.

But it was Gilas Pilipinas who played catch up in the first half, only getting the taste of the lead with 5:48 in the third quarter on a bucket by Jeff Chan.

And they barely held on to that edge, no thanks to the Filipinos’ lousy three point shooting, going 5-of-24, and rebounding, lagging behind, 36-45.

Japeth Aguilar rebounds over WONG Chun Wai while Gary David at the middle

“We started very flat. We didn’t want to play Marcus [Douthit] that many minutes, but our players weren’t ready tonight,” said head coach Chot Reyes.

Douthit, who is nursing a sore leg, was on the floor for 31 minutes because the Filipinos’ other bigs didn’t rise up to the challenge.

The naturalized center still paced the Philippines with 13 points and eight rebounds.

The high-leaping Japeth Aguilar rode the bench for most of the game because “he was playing lousy,” said Reyes.

But buoyed by Norwood’s relentlessness, scoring off a spin move then swiping the ball off the hands of Ki Lee for a bucket plus the freebie, Philippines got its separation down the stretch.

Smart Gilas Pilipinas arranged a meeting with group F’s fourth placer Kazakhstan in the knockout quarterfinals which starts on Friday at the same venue.

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  • FibaMonster

    Hopefully Gilas will play their hearts out against kazakhstan and treat each opponent they face from here on in with the determination, attitude and hunger. hope they wont let up and take opponents lightly like their last game. Laban PILIPINAS! PUSO!

  • The Bodyguard Of Boss Joanne

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We had a promising basketball program, with Rajko Toroman as the head coach. Why did we replace a well – experienced international coach with someone who doesn’t know how to adjust to tight situations and motivate his players to excel? As for the players, I think Tenorio should be replaced by someone who can better defend the wings. He also does a poor job creating plays other than himself. Lastly, we need another shooter. Gary David isn’t cut for the job. He’s good in the PBA, but sucks in international competition; just like Danny Ildefonso.

  • Dadi Jordy

    Dribble-and-drive (plus pass for open man) AND pick-and-roll are the keys if you are playing against taller teams. The opponents have spoken: they are worried about Gilas’ speed. We should take advantage of that. If tired, give the ball to Doughit. And Japeth, for god’s sake, flex your muscle.

  • Don Dee

    Our POINT GUARDS need to control the game. Bakit ba palaging PANIC MODE? Para kayong si Quinito Henson na dakilang nerbyosong dalagitang TV commentator. EXECUTE the plays point guards! Take good shots. Win or lose, taking good shots in well executed plays is all we can ask of you. All other stuff that goes in your head are not important. You do not have to win it for the team nor any ONE player in the team. Just execute the plays guys. EXECUTE. EXECUTE.

    And oh yeah, unless your named Chan, Tenorio, or Fonacier, stop taking three point shots.

  • beeznet

    Chot Reyes is an inconsistent coach, period!

    • KarmaGMA

      tama ka dyan, this coach sucks bigtime !!! muntik pa tayo natalo. parang feeling pressure cla sa 1st half buti kinapos yung taga hongkong.

  • mang_berto

    ok lang yan. magkakaroon talaga ng malas na araw. buti na lang, hong kong lang ang kalaban.

  • jus_sayinagain

    The last two games were….entertaining. If Jessica Sanchez is a symbol of Pinoy Pride, then Marcus and Gabe are what? Got to give it to those two hard-working guys.

    To win the Championship is the campaign…it’s what it is all about. The games against Quatar and HK were mere skirmishes. They were won…but does it help the team build itself up against the real battles?

    Seeing Douthit limping on the court against Quatar, and playing heavily against HK might be an indication of what’s left. Will it have enough to win back the Championship after 40 years, or a ticket to Spain is what they are really playing for? No chance for Gilas to go farther than the elims in Spain.

    I will keep on dreaming of the day the Philippines is Champion in Asia again, at the very least.

  • oh_noh

    Sigurado, isa dyan o malapit na kamag-anak o tropa ang tirador ng wiki :)
    |2013 Asian Champions|

    Most Valuable Player:
    Kareem Flores
    All-Star Team:
    SF – Kareem Flores
    SG – Arsenio Ador
    C – Venerando Cosare IV
    PG – Dee June Gonzalez
    PF – Jehwin Paden

  • oh_noh

    if we get past KAZ (55-45 odds), will SK once again make us weep?!?!

    *cheers* kung magka ganyan, may chance pa naman against CH or IRI :)

  • RedvD

    Gary David should really overcome his terrible slump. Otherwise, chot should limit his minutes

    • bit coin

      I’m waiting for Gary D. hit the most important shot of the most important game of GILAS.

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