SMART Gilas-Pilipinas came from behind to nip the Southern California Fukienese Association-USA squad, 81-77, yesterday and win the Super Kung Sheung Cup at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Hong Kong.
Marcus Douthit, the 6-foot-10 naturalized Filipino, and Kevin Alas were big in the clutch, with Alas, the Letran superstar in the NCAA, going home with the Most Valuable Player award.
Douthit scored 19 points and Gary David, one of three pros in the lineup, had 14 as the Filipinos finished the tournament without a loss. Alas chipped in with 12 points like Garvo Lanete.
Team Philippines made the title match by ripping Changsa Lane, 90-69, in the crossover Final Four.
Against the defending champion SCFA-USA, a Los Angeles-based squad which played with eight Americans, the Filipinos trailed 40-45 at the half.
The Philippines also posted victories against Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong in group play.
It was the second international title for this version of the Gilas-Pilipinas program counting its superlative conquest of the Jones Cup field in Taipei last August.
Made up mostly of collegiate talents from the cadet pool with the PBA in the middle of its season, the Gilas five returns to the country today with coach Chot Reyes scheduled to meet PBA commissioner Chito Salud and discuss the composition of the team for the Fiba-Asia Qualifying in Manila in August.
Last week, the PBA agreed to lend at least one player per team to the Gilas-Pilipinas pool while authorizing teams willing to lend more. That gives Reyes the flexibility he needs to come up with the best team possible as he can now tap either Arwind Santos or 6-foot-9 phenom June Mar Fajardo of Petron Blaze and Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee. Musong R. Castillo