Gilas-PH five bests Taiwan, shoot for the finals berth Friday
Tangles with tough Iran todayBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TOKYO—Rusty at the start and sputtering in the end, Smart Gilas-Pilipinas still found a way to cut down a tall Chinese-Taipei side, 75-68, and march into the Final Four of the fourth Fiba-Asia Cup here.
Using a 14-point lead as a buffer in the stretch, the Filipinos escaped with the victory that sealed a titanic semifinal match with defending champion Iran at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Ota Gymnasium here.
“We played a terrible game but still found ways to win,” national coach Chot Reyes said after the match before a lean crowd that included Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president and tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan.
“We can’t beat Iran playing the way we did today,” Reyes added. “We need to play 10 times better.”
Iran waltzed past Uzbekistan, 79-37, in an earlier game.
Qatar churned out the first upset in the KO stage with a 79-72 win over Group A No. 1 Lebanon. The Qataris will clash with the winner of the still-unfinished Japan-China match.
The only time the Philippine offense hummed on all cylinders was at the start of the fourth period, and that was enough to boost the Filipinos to a 71-57 lead which cushioned the Taiwanese rally.
Gary David nailed a triple at the 3:51 mark for that 14-point bubble, but the Philippines wouldn’t score again until the final 24.9 seconds, when LA Tenorio was sent to the line on a duty foul by Chen Shieh-cheh.
Taipei, which also fell victim to the Philippines in the Jones Cup last month, 72-76, came within 66-71 before Tenorio’s charities.
The victory assured the Philippines of matching its best-ever finish of fourth here.
Marcus Douthit shot 11 of his 19 points early in the game, allowing the Filipinos to keep control. The 6-foot-10 naturalized center also finished with 18 rebounds and four blocks.
SMART GILAS-PILIPINAS 75—Douthit 19, David 14, De Ocampo 10, Fonacier 9, Tenorio 9, Chan 5, Dillinger 5, Norwood 4, Thoss 0.
CHINESE-TAIPEI 68—Creighton 21, Lin 12, Chen 11, Tien 7, Wu 6, Mao 4, Lee 3, Chang 3, Tseng 1, Lu 0.
Quarters: 10-13, 38-32, 54-53, 75-68