Friday, October 2, 2015
Gilas Pilipinas downs Japan, 81-70 to reach FIBA Asia 2015 Finals (VIDEO)
The Philippine national men’s basketball team got pushed to the limit once again by Japan but still remained victorious in their semifinal encounter ,81-70, as Gilas Pilipinas advanced to the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship finals Friday at College of Social Work Dayun in Changsha, China.
[[ GILAS PILIPINAS vs JAPAN FULL GAME REPLAY VIDEO. CLICKHERE TO WATCH ]]
Dondon Hontiveros had his best game in the tournament, scoring 18 points on six triples, including the dagger one late in the game that kept the resilient Japanese at bay.
Gilas Pilipinas will now take on a gargantuan task of beating host China in the final on Saturday, where an outright spot in the 2016 Rio Olympics is at stake.
The Filipinos had a tough outing over the Japanese in their first meeting in the second round, and it was almost the same in their rematch.
Despite Andray Blatche carrying the scoring cudgels early, Gilas Pilipinas still had a lethargic start especially on the defensive end. Japan took advantage of the time when he hit the bench, grabbing a 23-16 second quarter lead after a 12-0 run bridging the first two quarters.
But Jayson Castro came to the rescue and scored eight straight points to put Gilas Pilipinas back on top, 24-23.
The Japanese had an answer in Makoto Hiejima whose hot shooting pounced the Filipinos’ defense. He scored 22 points at halftime, including two straight and-ones that regained Japan a six-point lead, 35-29.
But Hontiveros found his touch late in the second period, burying two triples late in the quarter that helped Gilas Pilipinas tie the game at 37-all. Both teams settled for a 39-all stalemate at halftime.
The Filipinos, behind Castro again, then grabbed an eight-point lead, 54-46, late in the third frame, only to lose it due to turnovers and fouls. Japan made an 8-0 run ending the quarter to knot the game once again at 54-all entering the fourth period.
Gilas Pilipinas started the final frame with five straight points courtesy of Castro and Hontiveros. A triple and three free throws by Ranidel De Ocampo off a foul from beyond the arc then pushed their lead back to eight, 65-57, with over six minutes left.
But Japan kept within striking distance as Gilas Pilipinas kept on giving fouls. With the Filipinos holding a 74-68 lead, Hontiveros fired a triple on a fastbreak to give them a nine-point lead and seal the win.
FINALS GAME SCHEDULE (October 3)
BATTLE FOR 3RD - 6:00 PM - Iran vs Japan
CHAMPIONSHIP: 8:30 PM - Philippines vs China
[[ GILAS PILIPINAS vs JAPAN FULL GAME REPLAY VIDEO.