JORDAN coach Rajko Toroman has seen Ranidel De Ocampo do this one too many times during his long stint, both as coach of Gilas and of Petron and later Barako Bull in the PBA.
So it was like deja vu on Tuesday.
With the former Gilas coach watching from the opposite bench, De Ocampo drilled the clutch three-pointer that helped the Philippine team overcome a fighting Jordan side, 71-70, and top Group B in the Fiba Asia Cup preliminaries in Wuhan, China.
De Ocampo's clutch trey with 35.2 seconds left gave Gilas a 71-68 lead over a Jordan team that lost by a big margin to Chinese-Taipei but gave the Filipinos a lot of problems, perhaps because of Toroman's familiarity with the Gilas players and the dribble-drive system of Chot Reyes.
Gilas, in fact, didn't heave a sigh of relief until Wesam Al-Sous missed a wide-open three-point try from the deep left corner just before the final buzzer.
With the narrow win, Gilas clinched the top spot in Group B with its 3-0 record and set up a quarterfinal face-off with India, the fourth-seeded team in Group A, on Thursday.
Paul Lee again led the Filipinos with 16 points, 11 in the second half as he injected the much-needed offense for a Gilas squad that shot just 39 percent (26-of-67) from the field.
De Ocampo, the cool and collected stretch four of Gilas, fired eight of his 14 points in the second half. He went 4-of-7 from the three-point zone, while adding six rebounds for Gilas, which is using the Fiba Asia Cup as part of its buildup for the Fiba World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Ahmed Aldwairi, the youthful slotman, led Jordan with 13 points and 14 rebounds, as he proved to be the thorn in Gilas’ side for much of the game.
Philippines 71: Lee 16, De Ocampo 14, Douthit 13, Dillinger 9, Belga 7, Tenorio 4, David 4, Alas 2, Fajardo 2, Aguilar 0, Lanete 0, Washington 0
Jordan 70: Al-Sous 14, Al Dwairi 13, Wright 11, Alawadi 9, Alhamarsheh 7, Hussein 7, Eid 7, Abu Ruqayah 2, Abdeen 0
Quarters: 17-12, 30-30, 49-52, 71-70