Smart Gilas rips JordanBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TAIPEI—Surprisingly playing cohesively despite being together for just over two weeks, Smart Gilas-Pilipinas got off to a solid 34th Jones Cup start Saturday night with an 88-78 decision of Jordan at Taipei PE College gym here.
Marcus Douthit showed why he is needed by the Filipinos in international play, firing crucial baskets in the stretch that helped hold off the tough Jordanians.
The naturalized 6-foot-10 center capped his dominant show in the fourth quarter by finishing off a fastbreak with a two-handed jam for 85-76 with 44 ticks left.
Considering that they were playing their first official game, the Filipinos looked fluid for most part, sharing the ball well and finding the open man for easy buckets.
“Except for the turnovers, which we had quite a few, it was a pretty impressive game for us,” PH coach Chot Reyes said. “For a team that played competitively for the first time, yes, I am impressed.
Douthit finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds despite limited minutes because of early foul trouble and Gary David, the scoring champion in the last PBA season, hit 14 despite taking just nine attempts from the field.
“It was a good first game. We’re using this tournament to learn to play together,” Douthit said. “I think our leadership and experience on the floor definitely prevailed.”
Jordan played with several former standouts of its youth program and came to this tournament without Zaid Abbas and Sam Douglas, leaving the scoring cudgels to the seasoned Rasheim Wright and Khaldoon Abu Ruqayah.
Iran also started strong with an 89-74 win over Lebanon in the tournament opener as veterans Samad Bahrami and Hamed Afagh scored 24 and 23 points, respectively.
Team Philippines clashes with Taipei-B at 3 p.m. on Sunday, with the Taiwanese coming off an 83-109 loss to a Korean club reinforced by former PBA import prospect Juan Patillo.
Patillo, who was being recruited in the last Governors’ Cup by Meralco, played just 16 minutes and finished with 11 points and six rebounds with 7-foot Garrett Stutz leading the way with 19 points in 20 minutes.
SMART GILAS-PILIPINAS 88 – Douthit 17, David 14, Chan 11, Fonacier 10, De Ocampo 8, Norwood 7, Villanueva 7, Mercado 6,Tenorio 4, Thoss 4, Baracael 0, Ganuelas 0.
JORDAN 78 – Wright 24, Hussein 17, Abdeen 14, Ruqayah 10, Aldwairi 4, Alsous 4, Alharmasheh 3, Zaghab 2, Alnajjar 0, Al Hait 0, Eid 0.
Quarters: 25-16, 36-39, 66-54, 88-78.