TAIPEI - Gilas Pilipinas held its ground against a tough and scrappy Spartary Primorye side of Russia to pull off an 85-71 victory and get its title bid back on track in the 37th Jones Cup on Tuesday.
Calvin Abueva had 10 points and eight rebounds while Ranidel de Ocampo made a couple of big three-pointers late as Gilas bounced back from a lackluster showing in a 70-82 loss to South Korea by dealing the Russians their first loss in four games in this nine-nation tournament.
They Said It!
“By refusing to lend its players to Gilas, SMC is losing a lot. The TNT players like Tautuua, Rosario and Ganuelas-Rosser are polishing their skills internationally. Not to mention capturing the hearts of the fans. #gilaspilipinas" - Jeffrey Manzano Padua
But unlike the team's first two games, this win was not about one or two men. Instead it was by far the best performance Gilas had put on as a team, with everyone from Terrence Romeo to youngsters Matt Ganuelas-Rosser and Troy Rosario down to 42-year-old Asi Taulava pitching in.
"It wasn't a clean game, we still had a lot of mistakes," said national coach Tab Baldwin. "But from the no. 1 guy to No. 12, we all put in the effort and played well, so you can say this is our best (game) as a team."
The audacious showing raised the Philippines' record to 2-1 (win-loss) going to Wednesday's match against Japan in this annual tournament where the team with the best record will be declared winner, with ties to be decided by the quotient system.
If the Korean game was undone by a third quarter collapse for Gilas, this one was all but won in the third quarter where Abueva hit six points to spark a breakaway that opened a 61-48 lead for the Filipinos on a JC Intal three-pointer with 40 seconds to go in the period.
The clincher came in the form of de Ocampo's third three-pointer of the game, 76-65, with 1:57 to go, sparking wild celebration from Filipino fans in the stands at the Xinzhuang Stadium that had witnessed several skirmishes among players from both sides.
The most serious happened right in the first quarter, shortly after Gilas slotman Sonny Thoss suffered a cut in the head that needed five staples to close after getting hit with an elbow by a Russian player.
They Said It!
“As the days go by sa Jones Cup, I am beginning to really like Gilas 3.0. Yes, we don't have the best of the talent, but our lack of talent (also of height) is well compensated with the passion and grit to fight for flag and country. This game proved that there is really no backing down for this Gilas. And the effort and hustle. I love watching all five guys battling for position and trying to get the rebound. If this team continues to improve, gold would not be so impossible in Fiba Asia! Win or lose, laban lang Gilas! Mabuhay kayo!" - Realino920
Romeo was right in the middle of it and eventually was hit in the face by a ball thrown by the Russians who eventually were slapped with two technical fouls.
De Ocampo led Gilas with 13 points and two rebounds in just his second game back from a hamstring injury while the trio of Ganuelas-Rosser, Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario combined for 26 points.
Intal added eight points for Gilas, which lost the rebound battle to the taller and physical Russians, 41-43, but had half as many assists, 16-8, to atone for its 17 turnovers.
Romeo, the top scorer of Gilas in its first two games, was held to 11 points and sat out much of the second half.
Burly Kostiantyn Glazyrin topscored with 23 points for Spartak, a Russian pro team that is based in Vladivostok.
Philippines 85 – De Ocampo 13, Romeo 11, Abueva 10, Tautuaa 10, Ganuelas 10, Intal 8, Taulava 7, Rosario 6, Hontiveros 6, Alapag 3, Thoss 1, Ramos 0.
Spartak 71 – Glazyrin 23, Goliakhov 12, Uzinskii 11, Savelev 10, Ferorkhov 5, Fediushin 5, Ivanov 4, Zverokv 1.
Quarterscores: 20-23, 43-40, 61-50, 85-71