Smart Gilas settles for third, rips Chinese Taipei anew
HSINCHUANG, Taiwan—Smart Gilas Pilipinas accomplished its mission in the William Jones Cup before 7,000 screaming, flag-waving fans Sunday.
Marcus Douthit delivered 28 points and 11 rebounds and Marcio Lassiter added 16 as the Philippine basketball team repeated over host Chinese Taipei, 82-72, to finish third in the nine-game tournament at the Hsinchuang Gymnasium.
Despite injuries and exhaustion, the Filipinos unloaded one final blast through an imposing performance in the lane anchored on the 6-foot-10 Douthit.
The Nationals also shut down shooters Hsin Chen-an and Chieh Lin-chih in a strong comeback from a 19-point semifinal defeat to Iran Saturday.
“Our target going into this tournament was No. 3 and we did it,” said Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman, who matched the third-place PH finish in 2005 and 2007 under coach Chot Reyes.
The Nationals achieved their goal with key players JV Casio and Chris Lutz sidelined by injuries. In their absence, Mark Barroca, Dondon Hontiveros and Lassiter stepped up.
Hontiveros was three of eight from three-point range and finished with 13 while Barroca, who played extended minutes with Casio on the bench, added 10 points in a performance that fired up Smart Gilas on several occasions.
“It’s not easy to play nine days straight, especially if you have some injuries. But in the end, it was successful for us,” said Toroman. “We had shooting problems but Marcus simply dominated inside.”
The Taiwanese muffed their first six attempts from the field in the fourth period before Taiwanese-American Douglas Creighton stopped the bleeding with a three from the corner.
By that time, Smart Gilas was already way ahead with Japeth Aguilar’s alley-oop dunk off a Lassiter feed pushing the Nationals beyond reach, 76-54, 4:51 remaining.
“Our defeat against Iran left a bad taste in the mouth,” said Toroman. “It showed that we really need to strengthen the team inside.”
The 6-foot-7 Chen, a former Sacramento Kings aspirant, was two of five from the field while Lin, Chinese Taipei’s designated marksman, muffed six of his seven shots during the game watched by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, his wife Taguig Mayor Lani, Smart Sports head Patrick Gregorio and Powerade’s PBA governor JB Baylon.
Douthit slammed home his own miss and tipped in Barroca’s attempt, giving the Filipinos a 10-point advantage in the dying seconds of the first half.
Lin Lee-hsueh drained a three on the other end but Douthit worked the clock before barreling in for a 43-34 halftime lead.
In the consolation match, Japan showed its previous victory over Jordan was no fluke after posting a 77-73 win to secure fifth place.
PHILIPPINES 82—Douthit 28, Lassiter 16, Hontiveros 13, Barroca 10, Baracael 5, Taulava 5, Aguilar 4, Ababou 0
TAIPEI 72—Chien C. 26, Chen S. 13, Su 9, Lee 6, Chen H. 4, Lu 4, Creighton 3, Chang 2, Ho 2
Quarters: 22-16; 43-34; 62-49; 82-72
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