Gilas five rips UAE: Nationals face Japan next
HSINCHUANG, Taiwan—Smart Gilas Pilipinas overpowered United Arab Emirates, 95-60, in the William Jones Cup Thursday, showing a glimpse of how things will be in their first-round matchup in the Fiba Asia Championship next month.
Marcus Douthit muscled his way to 23 points and 13 rebounds and Chris Lutz added 13 as the national five erased the grim memory of its sputtering finish against Korea the night before.
It was the fourth win win in six games for the Filipinos, who are in a must-win situation against the Japanese today to avoid complications in their bid to reach the semifinals.
“We definitely need this win to prepare us for the tough game against Japan,” said Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman.
Japan head coach Wisman Thomas arrived on Tuesday and brought some national team mainstays with him from their South American training to beef up the squad composed mostly of collegiate standouts.
The Japanese (3-3) had stunned Jordan (3-2) and almost pulled off a reversal against Korea (0-5) if not for bungling a potential game-winner in the dying seconds.
Host Chinese Taipei (4-1) is also jockeying for a seat in the semis where the top four teams will be determined after today’s final elimination-round playdate.
“They are very quick and never give up on every play. They’re not so big and not so strong but they have great shooters,” said Toroman of the Japanese.
“We should treat them like we’re playing against a very strong team,” he added.
Douthit along with Japeth Aguilar and JV Casio powered the Nationals to a 65-49 lead at the end of the third.
The Filipinos, who shot 54 percent from the field, then held UAE to a single field goal for five minutes in the final quarter while unloading 14 points to boost the advantage to 79-51.
UAE is clustered with Smart Gilas, Bahrain and China in Group D in the first round of the Fiba Asia Championship in Wuhan, China on Sept. 15 to 25, the qualifying meet for the 2012 London Olympics.
Smart Gilas outrebounded UAE, 57-29, dished off more assists, 17-6, had more blocks, 6-1, and steals 8-3, but committed minimal turnovers, 8-12.
The Filipinos built an early 14-point cushion but Husain Ahmad and Khalifa Salen reduced the lead to a single point before Asi Taulava, Chris Lutz and Douthit gave the Nationals a 38-31 margin at halftime.
Earlier, Takeki Shonaka had 21 points and Keijuro Matsui added 12 as Japan pummeled Malaysia, 70-55, to post its third victory after six games. Malaysia dropped to 0-6.
PHILIPPINES 95—Douthit 23, Lutz 13, Lassiter 10, Taulava 10, Aguilar 8, Hontiveros 7, Casio 7, Tiu 6, Barroca 4, Ababou 4, Baracael 3, Ballesteros 0.
UAE 60—Salem 15, Braiki 13, Mubarak 8, Omar 6, Alameri 5, Zaabi 5, Ahmed 4, Abdalla 4, Ahmad 0, Alhattawi 0, Alali 0, Almehairi 0.
Quarters: 19-10; 38-31; 65-49; 95-60
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