The Smart Gilas Philippine National Team started their William Jones Cup campaign in Taiwan on such a high note.
They were up against the Chinese Taipei University All-Stars whom they dominated from start to finish. Japeth Aguilar began the onslaught with back to back flushes, as the rest of the nationals kept the intensity up to finish the opening quarter 20-8.
They further increased their lead in the second quarter but just went on a rampage in the 2nd half. Not letting up, a 34 point advantage at the end of the 3rd quarter certainly was too much to overcome. Final score was 83-52.
Marcus Douthit made a good account of himself with a 15 point, 14 rebound performance, followed by the 11 markers of Marcio Lassiter. Aguilar and Ababou combined for 18 points.
Though they had added confidence that early in the tourney, they were brought back down to earth as they got clobbered by the reigning champs, Iran 81-68.
Coach Rajko Toroman was looking forward to meeting the team he once led to the Fiba-Asia Championships and to the Beijing Olympics, who even played without their 7’2” center, Hamed Haddadi of the Memphis Grizzlies. But Iran dominated inside, led in rebounding and second chance points, and read Gilas’ moves really well.
But Coach Rajko still remains optimistic. Despite the final outcome, what he sees is the potential of the RP team to beat Iran in the future. That helps the team, including birthday boy Team Captain Chris Tiu, keep their eyes on the prize.
In the same tournament last year, our colors were carried by PBA players coached by Yeng Guiao and ended up 6th of 10 teams. Against Iran, we lost 85-60.
Next on the schedule are the Townsville Crocodiles on Friday at 5pm. There have been some confusion as to whether this is the team that plays in the National Basketball League of Australia. They are in fact NOT, according to their twitter account (@TsvCrocs). That professional team is reportedly set on getting PBA’s reigning Best Import Gabe Freemen of San Miguel after his stint here this season.
I guess the NBL’s Crocodiles just wanted to set the record straight because the Crocodiles in the Jones Cup got whooped by the Taiwanese squad 103-55. That’s with the core of the Taiwanese nationals sidelined due to injuries.
After a brief Saturday rest, the Smart Gilas squad will meet the Taiwan nationals at 7pm, Japan on Monday at 1pm, and then Lebanon at 3pm all at the Sinjhuang Stadium. Like Iran, Lebanon is also playing in the World Championships. Although those are the two most foresee to be in the finals, Gilas hopes to stir things up and make it all the way in this trimmed down pool of 7.
Yahoo Southeast Asia