This is a repost of the well-written article by my fellow writer, Sir Jude Roque, fromYahoo! Philippines:
Inspired by the recent announcement of FIBA Asia that this years Asian Championship will be held in Manila, the Smart Gilas Pilipinas national mens team got off to a rousing start here in the 24th Dubai International Basketball Championship by nipping Al Mouttahed Tripoli of Lebanon, 79-77, Friday at the Al-Ahli Club gym, to the delight of about two thousand Filipino fans.
The nationals shook off a slow start to thwart the No. 3 team in the tough Lebanese league that boasts of three American imports - Marc Salyers, Eric Chatfield and Larry Cox. Salyers is a 69 forward who has played all over Europe, while Chatfield is a hotshot from the University of New Mexico. Cox is a 610 behemoth who leads the Lebanese league in blocks with 3.9 per game.
The Lebanese started the game on fire, leading by as many as 15 points, at 18-3, on two triples by Salyers. Mouttahed was ahead, 22-10, after the first period, ut the gritty young Philippine squad unloaded five treys in the second quarter, two of which came from Meralco Bolts ace gunner Ronjay Buenafe, to take the half, 41-40. Naturalized import Marcus Douthit took control in the third canto as he scattered ten markers to keep Gilas still on top, 59-58, going into the payoff period.
In the fourth quarter, it was a Garvo Lanete and Kevin Alas show as the former NCAA rivals collaborated with a run-and-gun attack to counter the clear size advantage of Mouttahed. Alas, the former Letran standout, fed ex-San Beda star Lanete with a couple of excellent assists. Lanete connected on a triple and two floaters in a three-minute span.
Alas also fed Greg Slaughter with an alley hoop pass that the former completed with a slam, and delivered a crucial three-ball with just under four minutes left. But in the end, it was excellent team defense that sealed the victory for this Philippine squad that was formed in less than two months before the tournament, capped by a Lanete steal in the dying seconds of the game.
Douthit led Gilas with 20 points and 8 boards, while Lanete and Buenafe added 15 and 10 markers respectively. Alas also had a superb game with 9 points, 5 assists and 4 steals.
In the Jones Cup, all of our wins came from behind. Never, never give-up. But I thought the key in the endgame was our ability to make some stops, said head coach Chot Reyes.
Gilas and Mouttahed engaged in a shooting contest, but the Filipinos prevailed with 11 out of 25 triples as opposed to their opponents 8-of-31. The bigger Lebanese, however, won the battle of the boards, 35-29, including 17 offensive rebounds. Gilas had more assists, 15-9.
Gilas faces home team Al-Ahli Club, UAEs top professional team, later today.
Smart Gilas and Mouttahed are joined in Group B by Al-Ahli Club and Jordans Al Riyadi Sporting Aramex Club. In Group A are Sagesse and Al-Riyadi, both from Beirut, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates national team. A team from Kazakhstan was supposed to be part of Group A, but backed-out at the last minute.
Two years ago, the first batch of Gilas under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman placed second behind Egypts El Ettehad Club in this tournament. The only remaining member of that batch is Douthit. Slaughter was part of the 2010 Gilas squad that placed third behind Mahram of Iran and Al-Riyadi of Lebanon.
The Philippine team will easily become the most popular squad here as Dubai has over 800,000 Filipino overseas workers. Pinoys make up the biggest crowd in this annual tournament as they look forward to seeing the nationals in action.
The other members of the squad are KG Canaleta of Air 21, JayR Reyes of Meralco, RR Garcia, Ronald Pascual, Jake Pascual, and Matthew Ganuelas of NLEX, and Fil-Am recruits Justin Melton and Isaac Holstein. Coach Chot is assisted by former national coach Jong Uichico.
Blatche Andray 211-F/C-86 Xinjiang FT Jayson Castro William 180-PG-86 Talk N Text Gabe Norwood 196-G/F-85 Rain or Shine June Mar Fajardo 210-C-89 San Miguel Beermen Japeth Aguilar 206-C-85 Barangay Ginebra Ranidel deOcampo 197-F-81 Talk N Text Terrence Bill Romeo 180-PG-92&... [read more]
TURKEY over PHILIPPINES, 103-68 Turkey got the more than easy 103-68 win over Philippines in their preparation game in Istanbul. The two teams may face each other in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila, Philippines, as they start their games in different groups and if this game can be considered a sample, Turkey is at least in much better condition. Center Semih Erden and forward Baris Hersek with 16 points each were the top scorers of the winners. Furkan Korkmaz who is expe... [read more]
TURKEY over PHILIPPINES, 103-68 Turkey got the more than easy 103-68 win over Philippines in their preparation game in Istanbul.
The two teams may face each other in the pre-Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila, Philippines, as they start their games in different groups and if this game can be considered a sample, Turkey is at least in much better condition.
Center Semih Erden and forward Baris Hersek with 16 points each were the top scorers of the winners. Furkan Korkmaz who is expected to hear his name in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft, returned to Turkey and scored 5 points. Andray Blatche had 23 points for the losing side and Jayson Williams added 15 points.
ITALY over PHILIPPINES, 106-70 Italy got an easy win over Philippines in the first day of the preparation tournament in Bologna. The final score was 106-70 for the hosts and it was flattering for the guests who were trailing 62-15 before the half time.
The first 20 minutes of action ended with a 41 points advantage for Italy (64-23) which got 20 points by Danilo Gallinari in 15 minutes of action, 14 points by Pietro Aradori who came from the bench and 11 by Marco Bellineli.
Philippines was outplayed in every possible way and Andray Blatche with 21 points was as usual the only brightspot for them.
With the two conferences of the Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) done with the San Miguel Beermen overcoming the odds from a 3-0 deficit in the finals to win the Philippine Cup title in seven games against the Alaska Aces and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters ruling the Commissioner's Cup against the same Aces, another conference is shaping to be one of the most competitive tournaments in recent memory. Returning imports showcases the upcoming Governor's Cup which will have its... [read more]
With the two conferences of the Philippine Basketball Association's (PBA) done with the San Miguel Beermen overcoming the odds from a 3-0 deficit in the finals to win the Philippine Cup title in seven games against the Alaska Aces and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters ruling the Commissioner's Cup against the same Aces, another conference is shaping to be one of the most competitive tournaments in recent memory.
Returning imports showcases the upcoming Governor's Cup which will have its tip-off on July 15.
Asian imports will also be featured in this conference led by the returning Michel Madanly (194-G-81) for the Texters. Phoenix had tapped the services of 6-foot-3 Korean Lee Kwan Hee to bolster its guard-forward rotation.
Here are the complete lineup of reinforcements for all contending teams:
Aris Ignacio is from the Philippines and has always been a big fan of Philippine basketball. Aris' follows the Philippine Basketball Association since the late 80's and has learned the history and personalities of the PBA. He also has interest with other basketball tournaments in the Philippines and beyond most specifically college basketball (UAAP, NCAA), the Asian Basketball League (ABL), FIBA Asia and World Cup tournaments. Follow Aris Ignacio on Twitter at aris_ignacio.
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