HSINCHUANG, TAIWAN?Japan hardly missed its high-scoring forward in dealing the Smart Gilas-Pilipinas five an 84-74 thrashing on Monday in the 32nd William Jones Cup International basketball tournament here.
Deadly from the perimeter, the quick, aggressive Japanese pulled away early in the fourth quarter and eventually sent the tired Filipinos down to their second loss in five games.
?There wasn?t enough rest. We?re tired and couldn?t recover from the game last night (against Chinese Taipei),? said Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman, whose boys needed extra time to beat the Taiwanese, 96-93, Sunday night.
?But I think they (Japanese) were the better team on the court. Even without (Tayuka) Kawamura, they remained aggressive.?
The Japanese, who had their day off Sunday, played minus the 6-foot-4 Kawamura, who averaged 25 points a game before he sprained an ankle against the Taiwanese Saturday, ending his stint here for good.
Japan, which picked up its third win in five outings, opened the fourth period with seven quick points on Takuma Ishizaki?s three-pointer and two fastbreaks completed by Kenta Hirose to take a 62-52 lead.
Smart Gilas cut the lead down to 70-66 behind Marcio Lasitter, Mac Baracael and JVee Casio with three minutes remaining, but Japan responded with a full-court press that throttled the rally.
A passing error by Baracael and a fumble by Marcus Douthit paved the way for two Japan baskets that doomed the Filipinos, time down to two minutes.
?We were good in the three-point zone but we couldn?t defend the fastbreak,? said Toroman. ?Those two crucial errors also prevented us from getting the win.?
Douthit, RP?s candidate for naturalization, again came up with a double-double of 20 points and 21 rebounds.
Smart Gilas wraps up its stint on Tuesday against Lebanon, needing a win to have a chance of finishing either second or third.
Defending champion Iran, which beat arch-nemesis Lebanon earlier, will just go through the motion of sealing the crown against host Chinese Taipei on Tuesday.
Forward Tomoo Amino and Hirose tossed in 13 points each while 7-foot-2 Fumihiko Aono and Yuta Tabuse, who played briefly for the Phoenix Suns in 2008, added 10 points apiece.
JAPAN 84?Amino 13, Hirose 13, Tabuse 10, Aono 10, Yamada 8, Kinoshita 8, Ishizaki 8, Sakurai 6, Nagayama 4, Takeda 4, Kanamura 0, Mitsuhara 0.
SMART GILAS 74?Baracael 24, Douthit 20, Lassiter 16, Barroca 6, Casio 4, Ababou 2, Slaughter 2, Tiu 0, Lutz 0.
Quarters: 17-15; 34-32, 52-55, 84-74