Gilas Pilipinas bounces back, takes down Russia
1 p.m. – Iran vs USA Select-Overtake
3 p.m. – Japan vs Gilas Pilipinas
5 p.m. – South Korea vs Wellington Saints
7 p.m. – Spartak Primorye vs Chinese Taipei-B
TAIPEI – The enemy sucked Gilas Pilipinas into a very physical match and found out the hard way that it is just right up the Filipinos’ alley.
After seeing a teammate bloodied by the biggest Russian from Spartak Primorye, Gilas responded in kind – and then some – on Tuesday, scoring an 85-71 victory to get back in the Jones Cup fight at Xinchuang gymnasium here.
The smaller Filipinos dished out more than they took, with their ruggedness and fine team play ultimately frustrating the Russians in the second half as Gilas quickly picked itself up from a loss to South Korea the night before and dealt Spartak its first defeat in four games.
Ranidel de Ocampo announced his return to peak form with 13 points highlighted by two clutch triples in the fourth, and four others scored in twin digits as the Filipinos responded to coach Tab Baldwin’s plea of leaving individuality behind after going down in flames against the Koreans, 82-70.
“It wasn’t a polished performance, but everybody stepped up and did what they had to do,” Baldwin said. “We played within our roles pretty well – the shooters making their shots and rebounders getting their rebounds.
“Defensively we were tough. It still had some lapses, but the guys did a good job.”
The Russians have built a reputation as a very physical team in the tournament, but against the Filipinos, they were nothing short of dirty early on.
Sonny Thoss sustained a busted head courtesy of an intentional elbow from 6-foot-10 center Alimdzhan Fediuhin with barely two minutes gone in the game.
This did nothing but fire up the Filipinos, who didn’t exactly inflict wounds on the enemy but got them sprawled on the floor so many times before dealing the Russians the blow that hurt the most – on the scoreboard.
Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, watching the game back home, gave trusted lieutenant Ricky Vargas a call and expressed pride at how the Filipinos didn’t budge an inch.
“They probably thought that they could bully us. No way,” Vargas quoted MVP as saying after their conversation ended.
Baldwin went to tournament officials when the game was halted with 4:11 left in the first after both benches emptied during a play involving Terrence Romeo and Aleksei Goliakhov.
“If they had backed down from them (Russians), they would have to confront (deal with) me,” Baldwin said with pride.
Protecting a 43-40 lead entering the third, the Filipinos forced Spartak to bad field goal shooting and allowed just 10 points, with a 61-50 lead going into the last 12 minutes proving easy for Gilas to protect.
De Ocampo, who returned to the lineup only two days before the team left for here, scored eight of his total in the fourth, while Terrence Romeo showed everyone that he could be an effective quarterback after Baldwin sat out Jason Castro and three other veterans for the game.
Romeo had 11 points – his lowest output in the tournament – but was the point guard half of the game, even as Matt Ganuelas-Rosser piled up 10 points after playing a team-high 28 minutes.
Calvin Abueva was again one of the sparkplugs of Gilas, shooting 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds against the towering Russian frontline which added to Spartak’s frustrations.
Kostiantyn Glazyrin paced the Russians with 23 points with starting point guard Aleksei Goliakhov shooting 12.
Next up for the Filipinos is Japan at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
GILAS PILIPINAS 85 – De Ocampo 13, Romeo 11, Abueva 10, Tautuaa 10, Ganuelas 10, Intal 8, Taulava 7, Rosario 6, Hontiveros 6, Alapag 3, Thoss 1, Ramos 0.
SPARTAK PRIMORYE 71 – Glazyrin 23, Goliakhov 12, Uzinskii 11, Savelev 10, Ferorkhov 5, Fediushin 5, Ivanov 4, Zverokv 1.
Quarters: 20-23, 43-40, 61-50, 85-71.