Playing another tough game in less than 24 hours, the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas national developmental team battled toe-to-toe with a crack Japanese squad, but didn’t show enough legs in the homestretch.
As a result, the Filipinos absorbed their second loss in five matches after falling short against Japan, 74-84, in the William Jones Cup men’s basketball tournament at the Taipei County Stadium.
Mac Baracael finished with 24 points, import Marcus Douthit contributed 20 and Marcio Lassiter had 16 points for the national team aspirants, who fell into a tie with Japan in third to fourth places.
The Filipinos, who are also being supported by GMA Pinoy TV, play the mighty Lebanese in their final scheduled match Tuesday.
A win over Lebanon will reward the Filipinos either a third or a second-place finish in the tournament depending on the outcome of the game between Japan and the Taiwan University All-Stars.
Lebanon enjoys a half-game edge over the Philippines in the team standings.
Iran is already assured of the title after leading the participating squads with a perfect 5-0 record. Its last game will be against the Taiwan national team Tuesday. -RCJ, GMANews.TV