Smart Gilas boosts quarterfinal drive, downs Japan | Inquirer Sports

Smart Gilas boosts quarterfinal drive, downs Japan

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 10:26 PM September 20, 2011


WUHAN, CHINA—Smart Gilas Pilipinas can now breathe a little easier after hurdling its biggest stumbling block in the second round of the Fiba Asia Championship.

Marcus Douthit was an immovable force on both ends of the floor, churning out 25 points, 18 rebounds and three blocks as the Philippines held off Japan, 83-76, Tuesday night for a sure entry into the quarterfinals.


While the 6-foot-10 Douthit towered inside, Jimmy Alapag provided a spark in the backcourt after drilling nine of his 15 points in the fourth period.

Alapag’s two long-range three-pointers shifted the momentum to Smart Gilas and a stealthy drive inside two minutes assured a second straight victory for the Filipinos in the latter half of the group stages.


Smart Gilas also benefitted from leech-like defense of guards Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz, who shut down Japan’s offensive machinery in the wings, most especially 6-foot-5 Takuya Kawamura, who was held down to 3 of 11 shooting despite finishing with 12 points.

“They have great shooters and our strategy was to put pressure on them. We stopped Kawamura and that’s one of the keys in this game,” said Philippine five coach Rajko Toroman, whose Smart Gilas improved to 3-1 in the group stages.

The Filipinos could move into Friday’s quarterfinals assured of the No. 2 spot with another victory over Syria today. They will most likely meet Chinese Taipei, whom the Nationals beat twice in the Jones Cup last month, in the quarters.

Lassiter, who missed the first round along with Lutz, added 15 points for the Filipinos, who used a 12-3 windup in the third to secure a 60-52 lead entering the fourth.

Kelly Williams, the missing link in the power forward position, finished with 12 points.

The 6-foot-7 Williams joined forces with Douthit in limiting the 6-foot-10 Kosuke Takeuchi, one of the two formidable Takeuchi brothers, who wound up with six points and eight boards.

Joji Takeuchi had 22 points, including seven straight in a desperate rally where the Japanese closed in, 74-80, before missing their next two attempts that sealed their fate.
“Marcus really dominated the paint and he was really big for us. We took them out of their offense and we shot pretty well,” said Lutz.


The Nationals outrebounded the Japanese, 44-31 and shot 51 percent from the field (33 of 65) despite committing 13 turnovers against the 11 of Japan, which faltered at the free throw line, shooting just 57 percent (16 of 28).

“They dominated us inside and in a game like this, the team that controls the boards usually wins the game. We can’t win at this level shooting 57 percent from the free throw line,” said Japan coach Tom Wisman.

Meanwhile, Cho Sung-min drilled 19 points after going three-of six from three-point range and naturalized forward Moon Tae-jong added 15 as South Korea dumped Chinese Taipei, 82-61, to share the lead with two-time champion Iran in Group E.

The Iranians used their height advantage to the hilt and pummeled Lebanon, 76-45, for a similar 4-0 slate with the Koreans.

In another Group F matchup, Syria (1-3) will enter today’s tiff with Smart Gilas carrying the momentum of its 80-73 win over United Arab Emirates (0-4).

Powerhouse China, which crushed the Syrians, 90-71, Monday night, demolished Jordan, 93-60 Tuesday.

The Filipinos got off to an 18-11 start but turnovers began to hit them, allowing the Japanese to creep in with a 14-0 run bridging the first and second periods.

Scoreless for five minutes, Alapag knocked down a three and Ranidel De Ocampo sliced the paint for a 23-25 count.

Douthit’s two-handed dunk off an Alapag entry pass, JV Casio’s corner three and a fast break by Marcio Lassiter kept them within striking distance but consecutive threes courtesy of Joji Takeuchi and Tomoo Amino widened the Japanese gap by eight.

With the clock winding down, Lassiter dropped a layup at the halftime buzzer after eluding the 6-foot-10 Takeuchi.

The scores:
PHILIPPINES 83—Douthit 25, Alapag 15, Lassiter 15, Williams 12, Barroca 6, Casio 4, de Ocampo 4, Taulava 2, Tiu 0.
JAPAN 76—Takeuchi J. 22, Shonaka 14, Hirose 13, Kawamura 12, Takeuchi K. 6, Ishizaki 5, Amino 4, Matsui 0, Takeda 0, Sakurai 0, Ota 0.
Quarters: 18-23; 34-40; 60-52; 83-76

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TAGS: Basketball, China, Chinese Taipei, Chris Lutz, FIBA Asia, Gilas Pilipinas, Iran, Japan, Jimmy Alapag, Joji Takeuchi, Jordan, Kelly Williams, Korea, Kosuke Takeuchi, Marcio Lassiter, Marcus Douthit, Philippines, Rajko Toroman, Ranidel De Ocampo, Sports, Syria, Takuya Kawamura, Tom Wisman
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