HANGZHOU, East China – The RP-Smart Gilas national developmental team suffered a heartbreaking 83-82 loss to South Korea’s Seoul Samsung Thunder in the finals of the Asian Club Men’s Basketball Invitational here.
The Filipinos squandered a 42-32 lead at the break, with the Koreans fighting back and dragging their rivals to a down-to-the-wire match.
Samsung’s Daryl Heins shattered the game’s final deadlock at 79-all, then had a controversial basket with two seconds left that decided the outcome.
“We were the better team, but the referees didn’t make a traveling call in the last two seconds of the match," said RP-Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman.
The second-place finish still servesd as a fitting reward for the Filipinos, who are preparing for the year’s last major tournament – the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
“They had two American players and we only had one," RP-Smart Gilas assistant coach Allan Gregorio told GMANews.TV in a telephone interview a few minutes before the team’s flight back to Manila. “But our performance here speaks a lot of promise for this team."
Two players from the Philippine Basketball Association – Asi Taulava of Powerade and Kelly Williams of Talk N Text – are expected to boost the RP-Smart Gilas team, which is being supported by GMA Pinoy.TV
The PBA board approved the request of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas for the services of Taulava and Williams to strengthen the national developmental squad for the Asian Games. - RCJ, GMANews.TV