Smart Gilas five nips San Diego

Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines?Mark Barroca celebrated his birthday with a three-pointer in the dying seconds that lifted Smart Gilas Pilipinas to a pulsating 94-93 squeaker over the San Diego Surf on Sunday at the HourGlass Arena in Miramar College in San Diego, California.

Trailing 91-93, the 5-foot-8 Barroca launched the game-clinching trey with 4.3 seconds remaining to the delight of Filipino fans who came in droves to cheer for the Nationals.

Greg Slaughter paced the Nationals with 13 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots at the start of the RP team?s three-game tune-up with ABA ballclubs.

The Nationals led by 12 points in the final half but their 18 turnovers fueled a rally by San Diego Surf.

Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman praised the performance of the 6-foot-11 Slaughter, who remains the team?s primary option in the paint should the team fail to acquire an import for the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou.

The Nationals take a rest Tuesday before meeting the Riverside Rainmakers on Wednesday at the Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, California, and the Southern California ABA All-Stars on Saturday in Hawthorne.

After the ABA series, the RP five will travel to Las Vegas and play at least three club teams.

Smart Gilas, one of the foreign teams in the 2011 ABA season, is preparing for the FIBA Asia Champions Cup next month in Qatar.

The squad is also seeking a slot in the 2012 London Olympics through the 2011 FIBA Asia Championship qualifying. June Navarro

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