Gilas settles for third

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

FIRST-TIMER Gilas Pilipinas point guard Paul Lee calmly made three straight free throws with no time remaining to clinch a 80-79 score for the country and lift the Philippines to a big win against host team China and secure the 3rd Place honors at the close of the 5th FIBA Asia Cup at Wuhan China on Saturday.

Living up to his moniker "Angas ng Tondo," the Rain or Shine star helped the Gilas squad earn their best finish in the FIBA Asia Cup tourney.

Whang Zhelin had a chance to seal the game with his two free throws with four seconds left but missed the two crucial points that could have led China to win.


Seizing the opportunity, Gilas' naturalized center Marcus Douthit grabbed arguably the most rebound of the game and then sent the ball over to LA Tenorio who immediately issued the outlet pass to Lee on the other end.

Lee carried the team on his back as he tried to fake two Chinese defenders in front of him and earned a crucial call from the officials.

He then silenced the euphoric cheers of all Chinese fans inside the Wuhas gymnasium as he sunk all his charity shots.

Gilas Forward Ranidel de Ocampo paced the team with 18 points while Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio contributed 14 and 12, respectively.

Enforcer Marcus Douthit, meanwhile, backed up the team with 10 points and 22 rebounds.

Chinese sharpshooter Kelanbaike Makan topscored for his team with 23 points while Gao Shang added 11 points.

China's sharpshooting was evident in the early going of the game as they went on a rally attributed to their good team play, taking an early commanding spurt of 24-15 at the close of the first quarter.

Gilas was slow on defense especially on transition attempts of China resulting in easy points.

In the second quarter, Gilas players turned the tide in their favor as Gabo Lanete and De Ocampo canned one trey apiece to cap off an 8-0 rally and cut China's lead to just one point, 24-23.

China's three point shooting, however, was too much of a difference as they pushed the lead back to 38-44 at the end of first half.

The Chot Reyes-mentored Gilas squad managed to take the lead in the third quarter before China regained its composure, to eke out a two-point lead at 62-60, heading into the fourth quarter.

China's lead in the fourth frame ballooned to nine points moments after Gu Quan scored on a basket. Gilas fought back as Tenorio tied the score at 77-all with a floater with 55 seconds left.

Tenorio missed out an opportunity for the Philippines after missing on a three point attempt in the ensuing possession of Gilas.

Wang Zirui, on the other hand, drew a foul on De Ocampo in China's turn but missed both crucial free throws which led to Lee's heroics at the other end.

For the championship match, Iran reigned supreme once more in the Fiba Asia tourney as they emerged as this year's tournament champion after they defeated Chinese Taipei, 89-79, on Saturday.

Iran automatically qualifies for the Fiba Asia Championship in 2015.

The 5th Edition of the Fiba Asia Cup opened last July 11 that ended on July 19.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 21, 2014.


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