TAIPEI - Gilas Pilipinas showed a lot of fight after an opening letdown, breaking the home fans' hearts with a convincing 88-72 victory over Chinese-Taipei's Team A on Sunday night in the 39th Jones Cup.
Gilas, whose players are all under 26 except for Fil-German Christian Standhardinger, showed the tenacity, sharp shooting and consistency sorely lacking in a loss to Canada just a night earlier to give home fans inside the Taipei Heping Gymnasium little to cheer about.
Matthew Wright set the tone for the Gilas youngsters and players like Kiefer Ravena, Jio Jalalon and Standhardinger finished the job against several remnants of the Taipei team that stunned Gilas the last time the two teams met in the 2013 Fiba Asia championship in Manila.
"I told the players that this will be an unbelievable environment playing against Taipei before its home crowd," said Gilas coach Chot Reyes. "It's their first time, but to embrace this situation and figure out a way to thrive in that environment is great.
"For their age and level of experience, I thought they did an admirable job of that."
Standhardinger put together a monster double-double in just his second game for Gilas with his 17 points and 15 rebounds while Wright scored 17 points while going 4-of-8 from three-point land in the Philippines' first win of the tournament.
Ravena added 15 points and supplied the dagger in the form of a buzzer-beating three-pointer off a broken play that made it 80-69 with 3:17 remaining.
Another Ravena basket and two Standhardinger freethrows made it 84-69 with a little over two minutes left, silencing home fans inside a packed Taipei Heping Gymnasium.
After a 77-90 loss to Canada, the Gilas youngsters finally showed their fighting qualities in a highly charged first half against the hosts that saw them open an early 40-30 lead.
A 10-0 run by the Taiwanese tied the score at 40-all but Mike Tolomia, inserted in the lineup just before the game, hit back-to-back mid-range jumpers to spark a closing 7-0 run for Gilas, 47-40.
In all, Gilas limited its turnovers to 11 - half the errors it committed in the loss to Canada - and gave up just 19 free throws after giving Canada 40 the night earlier.
Gilas 88 - Wright 17, Standhardinger 17, Ravena 15, Pogoy 10, Myers 9, Cruz 6, Ferrer 5, Tolomia 4, Jalalon 3, Parks 2, Belo 0, Paras 0
Taipei A 72 – Zheng 16, Po 14, Yi 13, Davis 11, Cheng 6, Long 5, Yi-Jie 4, Zhi 0, Huan 0.
Quarters: 23-22, 47-40, 68-60, 88-72.