SMART Gilas 2.0 has crossed paths with Chinese-Taipei yet again after the Taiwanese drew the Filipinos as their quarterfinal opponents in the Fiba Asia Cup championship in Tokyo on Tuesday night.
The Taiwanese banked on a perfectly executed alley-oop play which Lu Cheng-ju converted at the buzzer for a thrilling 75-73 win over Qatar on the final day of the preliminaries at the Ota gym.
The victory secured the No. 3 berth for Chinese-Taipei (2-2) in Group B, setting a do-or-die showdown with Chot Reyes' well-rested Gilas team on Thursday in a rematch of their Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship quarterfinals last year in Wuhan, China.
Led by the 37 points of Marcus Douthit, the Nationals ousted the Taiwanese, 95-78, in the qualifier for the London Olympics.
The Filipinos finished at No. 2 in Group A, losing out in a tiebreak to Lebanon. The two finished tied with China 'B' with a 3-1 (win-loss) record.
The loss, meanwhile, dropped Qatar into a crossover meeting with Group A topnotcher Lebanon.
With a full second left and the score tied at 73, Lin Chih-Chieh inbounded the ball, threw it in the air, and into the waiting hands of Lu, who dunked in the winning basket to the delight of the Chinese-Taipei bench and supporters.
Qatar had a chance to take the lead just before the game-winner, but Erfan Saeed split his two free throws that leveled the count at 73-73.