Gilas Pilipinas pulls away late to beat Japan; Iran next | Inquirer Sports

Gilas Pilipinas pulls away late to beat Japan; Iran next

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 04:48 PM September 02, 2015

INQUIRER PHOTO/Musong Castillo

INQUIRER PHOTO/Musong Castillo

TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas awoke in the latter part of the third period on Wednesday night and went on to run roughshod over Japan, just the perfect momentum the Filipinos need as they go for possibly all the marbles against an old nemesis in less than a day.

Terrence Romeo sparked a telling blitzkrieg connecting the last two quarters that snuffed the fight out of the Japanese for a 75-60 win, as the Filipinos triumphed for the second straight day and kept mighty Iran within sight at Xinchuang gymnasium here.


READ: Baldwin reminds Gilas about lessons learned in Asian Games


Moala Tautuaa came up with an overpowering display of might inside the paint, highlighting a 20-4 run with two jarring slams as the Filipinos wriggled free from a 44-all contest for 64-48 going into the final 2:28.

“It’s the best basketball we played,” coach Tab Baldwin, after his wards rose to 3-1 overall, told reporters. “We’re getting better, but we’re not good enough yet to win the Fiba Asia.”

Romeo, a national team rookie, finished with 16 points and three others contributed 10 each, including Tautuaa, who scored four straight baskets inside the run, including two double-handed slams under pressure.

READ: Romeo in pursuit of childhood dream as he tries to make Gilas cut

The victory, coupled with Iran’s unexpected 81-66 loss to the United States earlier, put the Philippines within half-a-game of the leading Iranians’ 4-1 card, making their 1 p.m. clash on Thursday the virtual duel for the title.

Tournament rules give the team with the best record after the single round elimination the title, and if Iran wins, it could go out of reach of the Filipinos even if Gilas sweeps its remaining three games.


A victory by the Filipinos would give them the edge over the Iranians and the other leaders Chinese Taipei-A and Spartak Primorye in case they wind up tied because of the winner-over-the-other rule.

Baldwin had already prepared the Nationals for the clash against Iran by sitting out big men Asi Taulava and Sonny Thoss and guards Dondon Hontiveros and Jimmy Alapag who are nursing slight injuries.

READ: Jordan Clarkson ‘all in’ for Gilas Pilipinas until 2024

The Iranians sacrificed their game against the Americans by giving 7-foot-2 NBA veteran Hamed Haddadi a breather as he will be relied upon a lot against Gilas.

The last time Gilas and Iranians clashed in the Jones Cup had the Filipinos winning, 77-75, on the way to the championship in 2012. Haddadi wasn’t in the roster then.

Joji Takeuchi, the 6-foot-10 veteran, paced the Japanese with 15 points and 13 rebounds but struggled in the fourth period where Japan was held to just four points in the first 7:52 of the quarter.

Calvin Abueva scored just two points but again went on to lead all Gilas rebounders with eight as the Filipinos won the battle of the boards convincingly, 45-33.

The Scores:

GILAS PILIPINAS 75 – Romeo 16, Tautuaa 10, De Ocampo 10, Castro 10, Norwood 9, David 8, Intal 3, Pingris 3, Rosario 2, Ganuelas 2, Ramos 0.

JAPAN 60 – Takeuchi 15, Hiejima 12, Furukawa 6, Tabuse 6, Kanamaru 5, Mitsuhara 4, Hirose 2, Arao 2, Hachimura 0, Hashimoto 0.

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Quarters: 11-10, 29-25, 46-44, 75-60.

TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas, Iran, Japan, jones cup 2015, Terrence Romeo

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