Smart Gilas torches Japan, reaches semis | Inquirer Sports

Smart Gilas torches Japan, reaches semis

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 11:18 PM August 12, 2011

HSINCHUANG, TAIWAN—Dondon Hontiveros fired 12 of his 14 points in the deciding period as Smart Gilas Pilipinas crashed into the semifinals with a 94-78 come-from-behind victory over Japan Friday night in the William Jones Cup at the Hsinchuang Gymnasium here.

After closing the elimination round with a 5-2 record, the Filipinos wound up at No. 2 and will face Iran today in the semifinals. Top seed South Korea tackles host Chinese Taipei in the other half of the bracket for a shot at the Finals Sunday.

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With the Filipinos trailing, Hontiveros knocked down two consecutive threes that changed the complexion of the Japan-dominated encounter.

Marcus Douthit suddenly found enough space to dominate inside and when Hontiveros sneaked in a layup, Smart Gilas went up, 76-68, deflating the Japanese charge.

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“I’ve been struggling the entire tournament. Coach was telling me that I should have a breakout game,” said Hontiveros, who also came through defensively by chasing Japan’s main offensive threat.

Keijuro Matsui, who hot eight of eight from three-point range, got bottled up by Hontiveros in the clutch, allowing Smart Gilas to hold Japan to a pair of field goals in the deciding period.

“It’s hard to play defense when the other team has a shooter like that. But I focused on him and got my confidence back when I was able to stop him for a while,” said Hontiveros.

Marcus Douthit finished with 32 points and grabbed 18 rebounds while Chris Tiu and Marcio Lassiter added 11 points each for the Nationals, who played minus star quarterback JV Casio and trailed for almost three quarters.

“We played good but they (Japanese) played fantastic in the first half,” said Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman, who hopes to duplicate the PH five’s opening-day conquest of the Iranians in the semifinals.

“We tried almost everything and it’s difficult to stop him (Matsui).

Good thing Dondon stepped in and Marcus played with a lot of energy in the paint,” said Toroman.

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Japan, whose core is made up of collegiate players, ended up at 3-4.

They will aspire for a better finish against Malaysia in the classification match. A victory will forge a battle for fifth place against Japan.

Matsui drilled five of Japan’s seven three-pointers as the Japanese gained control, 49-44, in the first half.

Individual plays temporarily worked for the Filipinos with Chris Lutz and Marcio Lassiter making their shots but the outside snipings of the Japanese were hard to overcome.

Saman Veisi escaped with a floater in the lane with time winding down as defending champion Iran repulsed Jordan, 68-67, to clinch a semifinal seat and eliminate the Jordanians (4-3).

After Veisi came through with 8.28 ticks left, the Jordanians made a last-ditch effort to save their semifinal aspirations but Rasheim Wright’s 12-footer rimmed out at the buzzer.

In the first game, Yoong Jing Kwaan scored 24 points and Ban Sin Ooi added 19 as Malaysia (1-6) closed out its stint with a 100-89 win over winless United Arab Emirates.

The scores
PHILIPPINES 94—Douthit 32, Hontiveros 14, Tiu 11, Lassiter 11, Lutz 9, Barroca 8, Aguilar 7, Taulava 2, Casio 0, Baracael 0, Ballesteros 0, Ababou 0.
JAPAN 78—Matsui 27, Nishimura 11, Okada 9, Hinkley 8, Ota 7, Shonaka 5, Togashi 5, Ito 4, Arao 2, Kamata 0, Noguchi 0, Sakai 0.
Quarters: 24-20; 49-44; 65-68; 94-78

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TAGS: Basketball, Dondon Hontiveros, Iran, Japan, Marcus Douthit, Philippines, South Korea, Sports, William Jones Cup
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