A DEMORALIZED Smart Gilas Pilipinas team settled for fourth place in the Fiba Asia Cup after losing to a hot-shooting Qatar team, 63-79, on Saturday in Tokyo.
A backbreaking barrage of four three-pointers in the fourth quarter took whatever fight was left of the Filipinos, who gamely stayed within striking distance up until that point despite starting slotman Marcus Douthit playing only on one good leg.
A shot clock-beating trey by big man Yousuf Mohammed kicked off that decisive sequence, which saw the Qataris break loose for good, 73-56, and clinch third place as well as the outright berth to next year’s Asian championships that goes with it.
Smart Gilas, clearly not yet over 60-77 loss to Iran in their semifinal match on Friday, matched the fourth-place finish of its predecessors two years ago under coach Rajko Toroman.
Gilas finished the tournament with a 4-3 (win-loss) slate.
Just like in most of the games that mattered in this tournament, the Filipinos couldn’t hit their outside shots consistently enough. They made just one of their first 16 attempts from three-point distance before Gary David hit one with less than three minutes left.
By then, it was too late.
The Qataris took control in the first half, 33-24, following a 7-0 run in a stretch where Douthit emerged from a rebound battle down on the floor clutching his right ankle which he twisted after stepping on the foot of a Qatari big man.
The naturalized player was helped out as he limped off the floor and sat out the final one minute, 36 seconds of the first half as the Qataris stayed in front, 35-26, at the break.
Douthit, however, shook off the injury and started the second half, inspiring Gilas which stayed within seven points of Qatar, 57-64, with seven minutes left to play.
Qatar (79) - Mohmmed 17, Johnson 16, Abdi 14, Saeed 10, Daoud 7, Salem 5, Mohammed 4, Elhadary 4, Ali 2, Mohamed 0, Musa 0, Zaidan 0.
Philippines (63) - Douthit 17, David 15, Dillinger 12, Norwood 10, De Ocampo 4, Fonacier 3, Tenorio 2, Chan 0, Thoss 0, Villanueva 0, Reyes 0, Ganuelas 0.
Quarter Scores: 8-12; 26-35; 48-55; 63-76