Smart Gilas Pilipinas sputters against Iran
Filipinos fall into battle for 3rdBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
TOKYO—With its outside guns jammed, Smart Gilas-Pilipinas saw an impressive international run come to a halt after Iran picked the Filipinos apart in the second half of their Final Four clash Friday in the Fiba-Asia Cup.
Iran dropped one scoring spurt after another bridging the final two quarters before posting a 77-60 victory that relegated the Filipinos to the battle for third place on Saturday, also at the Ota Gymnasium here.
The most telling of those blows came at the start of the fourth, where the Iranians dropped a 9-0 bomb, bloating a 53-47 third-quarter edge into a huge 15-point bubble which the Filipinos never came close to overhauling.
“We played a bad game,” Smart Gilas coach Chot Reyes said. “I take full responsibility for the loss. Bottom line: We lost because we couldn’t put the ball into the hoop.”
Veteran forward Eslamieh Afagh paced the Iranians with 14 points, with young Jamshidi, a standout of Iran’s youth program, and 7-foot-2 center Asghar Kardhoust shooting 13 each.
Marcus Douthit took his fourth foul at the height of that Iranian run with still eight minutes left. He was recalled to the bench by Reyes, who didn’t see the need to field him back in.
LA Tenorio and Jared Dillinger led the Filipinos with 13 points, and Douthit had just 11 points and seven rebounds.
The usual heavy scorers like Jeff Chan and Gary David combined for just seven on 2-of-12 shooting from beyond the three-point area.
The Filipinos had 23 errors, one of them by Tenorio near the end of the third period that allowed Iran to take a 53-47 lead into the fourth.
With the loss, the Filipinos will slug it out at 2 p.m. Saturday with the loser of the Japan-Qatar match that was still being played at press time.
Two years ago, the first Smart Gilas program under Rajko Toroman placed fourth.
The Philippines led by five at one point in the second quarter and seemed to have successfully shaken off the rust of a two-day break. The half ended in a 30-all standoff even with the Filipinos not really playing their best.
IRAN 77—Afagh 14, Jamshidi 13, Kardoust 13, Sahakian 12, Bahrami 12, Davoudichegani 6, Arghavan 6, Foroutan 1.
SMART GILAS-PILIPINAS 60—Tenorio 13, Dillinger 13, Douthit 11, Fonacier 5, Chan 5, De Ocampo 4, Norwood 4, Villanueva 3, David 2, Ganuelas 0, Reyes 0.
Quarters: 16-17, 30-all, 53-47, 77-60