Friday, September 4, 2015
Gilas Pilipinas defeats New Zealand with 92-88 overtime victory - Jones Cup 2015
The Gilas Pilipinas, Philippine national men’s basketball team displayed great heart as it passed a huge test against New Zealand’s Wellington Saints, 92-88, in overtime in the 37th William Jones Cup on Friday at the in Xinchuang Gym in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
Jayson Castro scored 22 points and Dondon Hontiveros provided some late heroics to finish with 21 to lead Gilas Pilipinas, which improved to 4-2 for the tournament.
Castro scored 11 of Gilas’ last 13 points in the fourth quarter as they forced an extra period and Hontiveros took over in overtime, where he knocked down three three-pointers en route to 11 points.
With New Zealand seemingly content to give up the outside shot, the Philippines were happy to fire away, knocking down four threes – all from different players – on a 50% shooting clip in the opening period alone.
Gilas got into foul trouble late in the period, though, and gave up some costly free throws although they came away with a deadlock, 25-all, at the end of the first.
After the high-scoring first period, though, the Gilas offense bogged down in the second quarter, where they were only able to muster a mere seven points.
With the team entering the penalty with over six minutes remaining in the half, the Filipinos gifted their foes with several easy chances from the charity stripe and the Kiwis took full advantage, grabbing a double-digit lead, 42-32, heading into the break.
Sonny Thoss led Gilas with eight points at the half with Calvin Abueva adding six.
Gilas suffered a disastrous start to the second half, though, as they allowed a sharper, more focused New Zealand team to score over and over as they romped to a whopping 16-point lead, 55-39.
But veteran Asi Taulava breathed some new life into the Philippine side, immediately announcing his entry with some second chance points.
Gilas raised its energy after that point with Moala Tautuaa finishing on a layup and Castro scoring on back-to-back layups in transition, plus an extra free throw on the second one. Taulava then scored inside yet again before responding to a New Zealand basket with another bucket in the post.
The Filipinos trailed by just seven, 59-52, with one quarter left to play.
The duo of Dondon Hontiveros and Abueva made some big plays at the top of the fourth quarter, with Hontiveros’ shooting and Abueva’s aggression in transition giving the New Zealand defense fits.
But it was Castro that gave the Kiwis the most trouble as he scored seven points in a 10-2 Gilas run that wiped out the New Zealand lead and force a 72-all tie with three minutes remaining.
The FIBA Oceana team then scored four consecutive points but Taulava and Castro combined for back-to-back baskets that again forced a deadlock, 76-all.
New Zealand got a huge play for 6-foot-9 import big man Bryan Davis, though, as he tipped in the ball to give his squad a 78-76 lead with 31 seconds left on the clock. But Castro once again came up big for Gilas, driving for an open layup to tie the game at 78 with 19 ticks remaining.
Gilas then played some great defense in the final seconds to force overtime.
Hontiveros then took over in the overtime, knocking down three huge triples.
His third three-pointer, plus a split from the line from Castro, made it, 88-84, with a minute remaining.
New Zealand’s Eric Devendorf hit a pair of free throws but Gilas had another big possession with Gabe Norwood grabbing a huge offensive rebound off a Hontiveros miss and Taulava finished off the play with two points inside, 90-86.