MANILA, Philippines - Smart Gilas got a second crack at Jordan today, arranging a final match with the World Championship-bound visiting team after drubbing Barangay Ginebra, 82-75, on the penultimate day of the short Smart Philippine Invitational Challenge at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium yesterday.
The Nationals outhustled and outplayed the Kings in the second half, pulling off the crucial win even with Marcus Douthit sitting out the game with an injured foot.
Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, Marnel Baracael and Greg Slaughter scored in double figures for Smart Gilas which bounced back from a blowout by the Jordanians Friday.
Douthit suffered his injury in the Gilas-Jordan match, and the 6-foot-10 naturalization prospect is a doubtful starter in the rematch set at 7 p.m. today.
China’s Dongguan team plays Talk n Text in the 5 p.m. curtain-raiser.
Lutz went 2-of-3 from the three-point area and finished with 15 points while Lassiter banged away three treys and finished with 13 as the Fil-Am guards continued to make good impression.
Slaughter was 5-of-12 from the field and also got eight rebounds against one turnover as he held his own against PBA veterans Eric Menk, Rico Villanueva and Yancy de Ocampo.
The Nationals played well as a whole, taking control of the match most of the way.
But Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman downplayed the outcome of the match, believing they didn’t encounter the real Ginebra game.
“I’m sure Ginebra is disappointed with the result of the (PBA) games Friday. Their mind must be on their playoff game (versus either Coca-Cola or Rain or Shine Wednesday),” said Toroman.
Villanueva and Mike Cortez paced the Kings with 13 and 10 points, respectively, with import Denham Brown playing limited minutes.
The Kings, who have lost five of their last six games in the PBA Fiesta Conference, also bowed to the Jordanians Thursday.
Ginebra and Talk n Text are playing as guest teams in the four-day event. Results of their games reflect only on the win-loss records of Smart Gilas, Jordan and Dongguan.
Smart Gilas finished the elims with a 2-1 card.