Gilas’ late-game salvo keys win over Japan 5
GILAS Pilipinas once again saved its best flurry in the fourth quarter.
Again starting slow as in their past two games, the nationals put together a solid performance in the fourth quarter to dispose of still-winless Japan, 75-60, for its second straight victory in the 37th William Jones Cup yesterday at the Xinchuang Gymnasium, Taipei.
With the win, Smart Gilas climbed into a 3-1 slate in a tie for second with Chinese Taipei-A and Russia Spartak and is now in a good position to contend for the crown it last won in 2012.
Iran still leads the tournament (4-1).
The nationals opened a killer 18-4 run in the payoff period, as they turned a tight contest into a comfortable finish with a solid team effort on both ends of the floor.
Terrence Romeo again led the Gilas’ onslaught, while getting a lot of help from Moala Tautuaa and Gary David in the final 12 minutes, as they scored clutch baskets.
Romeo, the tournament’s leading scorer coming into the game, was his usual dominant self and finished with a team-high 17 points, while Tautuaa scored eight of his 10 points in the fourth.
Jayson Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo chipped in 10 points apiece.
Entering the final frame, Gilas led by only two, 46-44, and it was anyone’s game until that point.
The nationals, however, turned the heat in the fourth by clamping down on defense, while waxing hot on the offensive end to quickly break the game wide open.
David’s triple with 2:28 remaining capped Gilas’ decisive run, giving the nationals an insurmountable 64-48 advantage.
Overall, the Philippines outscored Japan 29-16 in the fourth, limiting the Japanese to only four in the first eight minutes of the quarter.
The nationals’ lead actually grew to as many as 17 points four times in the final two minutes, as the Japanese failed to contain the Filipinos’ hot shooting.
Japan fell to its fourth loss in as many games.
The Philippines faces its most difficult assignment when it battles perennial Asian powerhouse Iran at 1 p.m. today in an anticipated rematch of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship finale.