AS far as Smart Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 coach Chot Reyes is concerned, there couldnât be any simpler explanation for the Nationalsâ loss to Iran on Friday.
Gilas canât put the ball into the hoop.
Reyes was left to rue the national teamâs cold shooting in the 60-77 loss to the Iranians, where Gilasâ usually reliable gunners failed to pose a threat big enough to ease the pressure on big man Marcus Douthit inside the paint.
âWe played a bad game,â Reyes admitted after the heavy defeat, which relegated Gilas to the battle for third place against Qatar. âI take full responsibility for the loss. Bottom line: we lost because we couldnât put the ball into the hoop.
âHad we played a little better, shot the ball better, we could have had a chance.â
That has been more or less the storyline of the tournament for Gilas, whose outside shooters never really got into any form or rhythm in Tokyo after shooting the ball so well during the teamâs conquest of the Jones Cup.
Against Iranâs spread-out defense, the Nationals could only make seven of 23 attempts from beyond the arc and that includes a pair by Gabe Norwood that came in the final quarter after the two-time Asian champions had already broken the game open.
Overall, Gilas made just 31 of 72 shots against Iran â just eight more baskets than the 23 turnovers they committed in the match.
The teamâs top two gunners, Jeff Chan and Gary David, finished with just seven points against Iran on a combined 2-for-12 clip.
Except in the easy wins against minnows Macau and Uzbekistan, Gilasâ shooters never got untracked, going a combined 22-for-95 (23 percent) from three-point range in games against China âB,â Lebanon, Taipei and Iran.
Gilas now moves straight to the battle for third place against Qatar, a consolation battle which took extra significance since the winner will be assured a place in next yearâs Asian championships in Lebanon.
Qatar lost to Japan, 66-73, in the other semifinal match on Friday.
"Apologies for letting the country down tonight. Only option now is to bounce back tomorrow and finish on somewhat of a high note," tweeted Norwood after the loss.