Gilas misfires, bows to China
Pinoys lose poise in endgameBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TOKYO—China, represented in the fourth Fiba-Asia Cup by a tall but inexperienced squad, nipped Smart Gilas-Pilipinas, 71-68, Friday night after holding the Filipinos to a measly four points inside the final 6:32 at Ota Gym here.
The Philippines fired mostly blanks from long range, crucially in the final quarter, in a luckluster showing that took some luster off their Jones Cup victory in Taipei last month.
After making just 1-of-13 triple tries and 1-of-4 free throws in the fourth, the Filipinos couldn’t hold on to an eight-point lead they built off a strong second-half fightback from as many as 10 points down.
“I thought we played really hard tonight,” Philippine team coach Chot Reyes said. “Obviously, we had our chances. Free throws we missed them, and we lost.”
The Philippines made just 6-of-35 three-point attempts and missed 10 of 24 free throws, failing to capitalize on the opportunity after it had pushed the Chinese to the wall in the first 14 minutes of the second half.
With Jared Dillinger quarterbacking a torrid second half assault, the Filipinos zoomed to a 64-56 lead with 6:32 left only to come to grief in an offensive implosion that had them missing seven straight three-point shots and going scoreless for almost five minutes.
Dillinger sat out the last five minutes after complaining of a slightly bruised knee.
The next PH basket came with 1:38 to go when Gary David hit a layup, but the Filipinos never reclaimed the upperhand after that.
LA Tenorio and Jeff Chan missed a triple try each inside the last 4.8 seconds, igniting a center court celebration by the Chinese.
Guo Ailun, a 19-year-old swingman who is the only remnant of the Chinese squad that finished 12th in the London Games last month, paced China with 18 points.
The Filipinos clash with Lebanon and the returning Fadi El-Khatib at 7 p.m. (6 p.m. in Manila) on Saturday.
Other first day results had Lebanon ripping Macau, 120-51 and Iran besting India, 83-71.
CHINA 71—Guo 18, Zhao 11, WE 7, Sui 7, Duan 6, Wang 6, Sun 6, Cao 4, Yu 3, Zhang 3, Wang Z. 0, Cao 0.
SMART GILAS-PILIPINAS 68—De Ocampo 11, Douthit 10, Fonacier 10, Norwood 9, Tenorio 8, Dillinger 8, David 7, Chan 5, Reyes 0, Thoss 0, Villanueva 0.
Quarters: 18-15, 40-33, 54-56, 71-68