TAIPEI -- It took a while for Gary David, a many-time national player as an amateur, to return to the international stage since turning pro.
Once he did, it didn't take him long to make his mark.
The hot-shooting PBA star came off the bench to score 13 points against Korean side Anyang KGC on Tuesday, including the two biggest baskets of the game as Smart-Gilas Pilipinas pulled off an 82-79 victory to stay unbeaten in the 34th Jones Cup at the Taipei Physical Education College gym.
David, a Southeast Asian Games gold medallist as an amateur but a first-timer in the national team as a pro, combined with Sol Mercado and Gab Norwood to lead Gilas back from a 12-point deficit in the second half then simply took over in the stretch run.
David first gave the Philippines a 79-77 lead with a running jumper in tight traffic with one minute, five seconds left, a shot which the Koreans answered with a layup from Jung Hyun Lee.
No shot was bigger, however, than the contested stop-and-pop jumper 'El Granada' scored that broke the game's final deadlock and gave Gilas the lead for good, 81-79.
“It was not a play designed for me,” David said. “But I found an opening and I took it. My job in this team is to score and that’s what I did.”
Norwood also stood out in the final stretch as he put the cuffs on Korea's import Juan Pattillo before capping his heroics with the freethrow that made it a three-point game in Gilas' favor, 82-79, with 24 seconds left.
Korea had broken Filipino hearts a lot of times in the past, once in the 2002 Busan Asian Games and again in the last Fiba-Asia where it beat Rajko Toroman's side with a late basket.
This time, the Koreans couldn't pull off another comeback as Tae Sul Kim, one of the national players in the Anyang lineup, missed a three-point try in the final seconds.
Korea, now 2-2, scored just eight points in the final period.
Gilas, looking to win this tournament for the first time since 1998, improved to 3-0 as it remained tied with the United States, which scored a 116-71 victory over Taipei-B in an earlier match.
Gilas coach Chot Reyes said the victory was meant to bring cheer to countrymen mourning the death of Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
"There’s a lot of sadness and mourning going on in the Philippines right now,” coach Chot Reyes, facing the local media in a somber tone. “The body of one of our cabinet members was found in the sea this morning.
“We talked about it (tragedy) as a team and all we can do is give them (Filipinos) something to be proud of, something to be happy for the moment.”
Reyes' men face Japan -- an 84-83 winner over Jordan in the day's late game -- at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Norwood finished with 10 points and nine rebounds and Mercado had nine. Jeff Chan led the Filipinos with 14 points built around four three-pointers.
GILAS 82 – Chan 14, David 13, Douthit 11, Norwood 10, Mercado 9, Fonacier 7, Tenorio 5, De Ocampo 4, Thoss 4, Lanete 3, Ganuelas 2, Villanueva 0.
KOREA 79 – Pattillo 19, Jung 14, Stutz 11, Choi 10, Kim 9, Yang 8, Lee 6, Kim 2, Cha 0, Kwang 0.
Quarters: 24-17, 42-40, 65-71, 82-79.