Saturday, September 5, 2015
Gilas Pilipinas defeats USA, moves 1 win away from Jones Cup silver
The Gilas Pilipinas, Philippine national men’s basketball team, despite playing without a natural point guard, denied a late comeback by USA-Select Overtake, 78-74, to move within reach of the silver medal in the 37th William Jones Cup Saturday at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in New Taipei City, Taiwan.
With the win, the Filipinos (5-2) only need to do the job against the still-winless Chinese Taipei B on Sunday to cop their first silver medal in tournament history. Iran already secured the gold after finishing with the best record (7-1).
But the Filipinos had to survive a late rally from the Americans who were able to come back from 18 points down late in the game.
As Jayson Castro, Terrence Romeo and Jimmy Alapag rested the game, Gilas Pilipinas played without a point guard. But that wasn’t a problem for the Filipinos as Calvin Abueva, Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Gabe Norwood took turns and did a great job quarterbacking the team.
Gilas Pilipinas ended the first half with a 16-5 run to grab a 40-30 halftime lead. Abueva then led the Gilas Pilipinas breakaway, feasting on steals and fastbreaks as he pushed their lead to 18 points, 55-37, in the third quarter.
But USA, composed of a couple of former PBA imports, made a rally in the fourth period. The Americans slowly cut their deficit and eventually made it a four-point game, 70-66, with under two minutes left after a triple by Marquin Chandler.
However, Sonny Thoss sank back-to-back jumpers to push the Filipinos’ lead to eight, 74-66.
The Americans made one last effort after coming within three, 74-71, after five unanswered points. But Dondon Hontiveros made insurance free throws to ice the Gilas Pilipinas victory.