TAIPEI - Gilas Pilipinas finished its campaign in the 37th Jones Cup basketball tournament with a flourish, ripping Chinese Taipei B, 96-67, on Sunday at the Xinzhuang Stadium to clinch second place behind five-time champion Iran.
Gary David led the scoring parade for Gilas with 22 points in a farewell game that, after a close first quarter, turned into an entertaining showcase of the Filipinos' offensive artistry that was played out before a big crowd made up mostly of Filipino overseas workers on their day off.
Jason Castro, Moala Tautuaa, Ranidel de Ocampo and Matt Rosser soon joined the highlight show against an aggressive but overmatched Taipei B team, putting a dazzling end to what national coach Tab Baldwin considered a significant step in Gilas' buildup for the 2015 Fiba Asia championship.
"This is a big step because you grow by playing games," said Baldwin, who will take this team to the Changsha, China in less than three weeks for a tournament serving as Asia's qualifer for the Olympics.
"We didn't come here targeting anything. We could've finished fourth, but the objective was to improve. But given all that had happened, second place is still a respectable finish for us. It was not what we wanted, but it's respectable."
By finishing this nine-nation tournament with a 6-2 (win-loss) card marred only by losses to Iran and nemesis South Korea, the Philippines assured itself of second place even if host Taipei A beats Korea later in the day.
Iran finished with a 7-1 record.
David got most of the minutes in the two-guard spot in the absence of Dondon Hontiveros, who flew home on Saturday after the win over a US selection for a prior commitment.
The Meralco veteran made the most of it, scoring a game-high 22 points on 10-of-15 shooting in a game which turned into a rout after a 26-11 second quarter that saw Gilas open a 50-32 lead.
Castro added 15 points, four assists and five steals in 18 minutes while Tautuaa added 12 and de Ocampo 10.
The only blight to the game was a bad fall by Calvin Abueva in the second quarter after a collision with a Taipei big man. He didn't return to the game but Baldwin said he would've played had he called Abueva's number.
Gilas 96 – David 22, Castro 15, Tautuaa 12, De Ocampo 10, Abueva 8, Intal 7, Ramos 7, Thoss 6, Rosario 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 3, Norwood 0, Taulava 0.
Taipei B 67 – Chien 18, Hsiao 14, Lin 9, Lee 9, Huang 8, Lee 3, Liu2, Lin CW 2, Chen 2, Chou 0, Cheng 0, Chien 0.
Quarterscores: 24-21, 50-32, 82-52, 96-67