MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines escaped what could have been another heartbreak dealt by South Korea, 82-79, Tuesday in the 34th William Jones Cup at the Taipei Physical Education College gym in Taipei.
Gary David, earlier dubbed the Philippine Basketball Association’s new superstar, bailed out the Nationals, who squandered a 14-point lead before trailing by 12, with two clutch baskets in a row to propel the Philippines to a 3-0 start.
Off a timeout, David knocked down a contested jumper that put the Philippines back on top, 79-77, at the 1:25 mark before hitting one again at the left elbow to break the tie for good, 81-79, with 45.3 ticks left.
David unleashed nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Gabe Norwood, who, along with former Rain or Shine teammate Sol Mercado keyed in a mini-run in the last period to keep the PH within step, went one-of-two at the line that set the final score as the Koreans’ wild attempt at three misfired.
Marcus Douthit had 11 points and 10 rebounds but struggled to defend South Korea’s six-foot-11 import Garrett Stutz.
The Philippines looked lost as it got hit by a barrage of treys and fell behind, 49-61, with 4:52 left in the third period.
With Douthit playing a sub-par second half, the Philippines went small and its quickness creating problems in transition that allowed the Nationals to make it a close contest.
The win followed up the country’s huge wins over Jordan and Chinese Taipei in its first two games.
The Nationals play Japan next.
The Koreans quickly erased a 14-point deficit thanks to a 17-3 blast in the second period.