Gilas Pilipinas thwarts hot-shooting India by 9
INCHEON, South Korea—Gilas Pilipinas got its campaign for a basketball gold off on the right foot, turning back a hot-shooting India five for an 85-76 victory Tuesday afternoon at Hwaseong Sports Complex gymnasium here.
The victory, watched by hundreds of their flag-waving, poster-toting compatriots, assured the Filipinos of a quarterfinal slot in the event where they are hoping to end a 52-year gold-medal drought.
The Nationals next take on Asian champion Iran on Thursday, also at this sprawling complex.
“It was important for us to go out and get a good start [to the tournament],” said skipper Jimmy Alapag. “We just want to keep our focus every game.”
It looked like it was going to be a walk in the park after the Philippines scored 16 straight points to start the game and Gabe Norwood found Japeth Aguilar for an alley-oop slam that gave the Filipinos a 49-33 lead late in the second quarter.
But India, which shot 12 treys, came to life against an erratic Philippines and used an 11-3 run bridging the middle periods to come within 44-52.
That particular slice of the game would echo throughout most of the second half.
The Philippines would take big leads—Gilas Pilipinas led by as many as 19 during the match—and India would claw its way back using the three-point shot.
Slowing down the Philippines was its 20 turnovers which India translated into 18 points.
After taking a 50-37 lead at halftime, Gilas turned the ball over twice in the first minute of the third period, allowing India to crawl to within eight points.
But Gilas struck back with eight straight points, including a slam from Marcus Douthit, to seize a 60-44 lead.
Later, back-to-back baskets by Aguilar put Gilas ahead, 69-50, late in the third quarter. Douthit finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and three steals in 28 minutes on the floor.
“It was tough to get the news [about replacing Andray Blatche] at the last minute but I’m mentally prepared for it,” said the New Yorker, who led the Philippines to the silver in the 2013 Fiba Asia tilt.
June Mar Fajardo proved he could provide relief for Douthit, scoring all his 12 points in the first half and adding nine rebounds. Jeff Chan had 14 points, making four of 10 shots from beyond the arc.
GILAS PILIPINAS 85—Douthit 14, Chan 14, David 13, Fajardo 10, Tenorio 10, Aguilar 10, De Ocampo 4, Norwood 3, Dillinger 2, Lee 2, Alapag 1, Pingris 0.
INDIA 76—Amr. Singh 16, Amj Singh 15, J. Singh 13, Bhriguvanshi 13, P. Singh 11, BP Singh 6, Pethani 2, Grewal 0, Pari 0, Mishra 0, Sivakumar 0, Y. Singh 0 Quarters: 24-16, 50-37, 70-56, 85-76