2012 Jones Cup Roundup: Days 7-9

Chot Reyes and the Gilas players lift the Jones Cup trophy
after a 14-year drought.
(image from the SMART-Gilas Facebook page)

WOW. After losing by 19 to the Lebanese on Day 6, the Pinoys went on a winning binge by beating defending champs Iran, hosts Taiwan, and the powerhouse Americans to wrap up their 2012 Jones Cup campaign and bring home the Championship for the first time in 14 years.

The last time the Philippines won this tournament was back in 1998 with the Centennial Team led by Marlou Aquino, Alvin Patrimonio, Vergel Meneses, Kenneth Duremdes, and Johnny Abarrientos among others. They went 6-0 in that competition, beating the Taiwanese in the Finals to cop the title.

That team eventually moved on to finish 3rd in the 1998 Asian Games. They went undefeated in their first four games before losing to South Korea in the quarterfinals and then to China in the semifinals. They eventually repeated over Kazakhstan to bag the bronze medal.

Equaling that feat in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships will be good enough to send SMART-Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 to the 2014 World Championships. Cross you fingers, folks!!! J

Here are the recaps of the last three games of SMART-Gilas from Mikkel Bolante of InterAKTV.com:

SMART-Gilas over Iran, 77-75
The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team bounced back from a sorry loss by taking down erstwhile undefeated Iran, 77-75 in the 34th William Jones Cup Friday in Taiwan.

It was a nip and tuck first half before the Philippine team unleashed a furious run to bridge the third and fourth quarters and take a 61-51 lead with less than nine minutes left in the game.

But Iran came roaring back led by star forward Nikkhah Bahrami, cutting the Philippine lead to just two points, 71-69, with less than two minutes left.

Gabe Norwood hit a key three-pointer to push the lead back to five points. SMART-Gilas got a stop on the other end and looked like it would extend the lead, but Gary David missed and Iran found Bahrami on a counter fastbreak to cut the Philippine lead down to just three points, 74-71.

Douthit gave the Philippines another big basket, throwing down a dunk off a bounce pass from Ranidel De Ocampo. Bahrami responded with a quick basket that made cut the SMART-Gilas lead to 76-73 with just 22.4 seconds remaining.

De Ocampo flubbed an opportunity to make it a two-possession game, missing a pair of free throws that could have raised the Filipinos’ lead. With the SMART-Gilas players having to defend the three-point line, Bahrami snuck into the paint for two points that got Iran to within one point, 76-75, with just 7.7 seconds to play.

Iran was forced to foul Jeff Chan, who split his free throws. But Mehdi Kamrani missed a three-pointer at the buzzer allowing SMART-Gilas to escape with the win.

Naturalized center Marcus Douthit scored 22 points while Gabe Norwood added 17 for SMART-Gilas, which took back the top spot in the tournament with the victory after a disappointing loss to Lebanon Thursday. Philippines, Iran, and USA are tied with identical 5-1 records, but SMART-Gilas currently has the edge by virtue of Friday’s win. USA’s lone loss came from Iran earlier in the tournament.

Bahrami, who scored 23 points in the second half including the last nine points for Iran, finished with a team-high 26 points.

The win gives the Philippines the advantage in case of a tie with Iran at the end of the tournament, as the Jones Cup employs the winner-over-the-other rule as a tiebreaker.
SMART-Gilas takes on Chinese Taipei A on Saturday before finishing its campaign versus USA on Sunday.

SMART-Gilas over Taiwan-A, 76-72
The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team put itself in position to clinch the title with a win in its last assignment, taking care of business against home team Zhonghua of Chinese Taipei, 76-72, in the 34th William Jones Cup in Taiwan.

With fellow tournament leaders Iran and USA both losing their matches on the penultimate day of the competition, the Philippines moved up to solo first place at 6-1. Iran, USA and Korea are in a three-way tie in second with 5-2 marks.

SMART-Gilas took an eight-point lead, 37-29, to halftime, but watched as the hosts rallied behind big man Tseng Wen Ting and some hot outside shooting in the third quarter. Chinese Taipei had a big 13-point turnaround to lead by five, 56-51, before Larry Fonacier hit a three-pointer that got the Filipinos within two entering the final period.

The Philippines opened the fourth with a 15-4 blast, including three triples from point guard LA Tenorio, as they took a 69-60 lead with 5:44 to play.

But the Taiwanese had one more rally in them, scoring eight unanswered points to cut the Filipinos’ lead down to one, 69-68.

But Ranidel De Ocampo and Tenorio hit back-to-back buckets to make it 73-68. Zhonghua got a pair of free throws to fall, then forced a turnover to gain possession back with 59.9 seconds to play.

The Taiwanese failed to score, though, and Gary David all but put the game away with a three-pointer that gave the Filipinos a 76-70 lead with just 40.6 seconds on the clock. Chinese Taipei had two more free throws to make it 76-72 with six seconds left and the Philippines escaped with the victory.

SMART-Gilas faces the US team tomorrow in a game that will decide the title. A win will assure the Philippines of its first Jones Cup title since 1998 while a loss would drop it down to a tie with the Americans, and possibly with Iran and South Korea, depending on the results of their matches.

SMART-Gilas over USA Selection, 76-75
Against an American team with superior size advantage, it was the smallest man on the Philippine side who stood tallest.

LA Tenorio delivered the biggest buckets in the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team’s 76-75 victory over USA to bring home the William Jones Cup to the Philippines for the first time since 1998.

The Alaska point guard scored 20 points, including the go-ahead basket with 17 seconds to go to lift SMART-Gilas to the win.

Before that, the 5-foot-8 Tenorio masterminded a Philippine comeback from a 13-point second half deficit. The US squad was still up, 59-46, with a minute left in the third quarter before SMART-Gilas unleashed a 15-0 run capped by a Tenorio runner to give the Philippines its first lead since the first quarter. He scored 11.

It was a nip and tuck affair the rest of the way, with USA grabbing the upper hand on a fastbreak layup by Jermaine Dearman, 75-74, with 36 seconds left.

SMART-Gilas coach Chot Reyes drew up a play that saw LA Tenorio breaking down his defender, dribbling left, and coolly sinking an 18-foot jumper for the win.

The Americans dribbled up the court and took a hurried shot, allowing SMART-Gilas to recover. The US squad were forced to foul Jeff Chan with just 1.9 seconds left, but the Rain or Shine sharpshooter, who hit five three-pointers in the game, missed his first free throw.
Reyes instructed Chan to intentionally miss his second shot, giving the Americans one last look at the basket, a jumpshot that clanged harmlessly off the ring.

With the victory, SMART-Gilas assured itself of the top spot in the standings after completing their eight-game schedule with a 7-1 record. No other team had fewer than two losses coming into the last day of the competition. SMART-Gilas only loss came against Lebanon.

The Philippines won the tournament for the fourth time in its 34-year history, the last 14 years ago when the Philippine Centennial Team swept the field to bag the title.

The Filipinos celebrate seconds after they beat the USA Selection
to bag the 2012 Jones Cup crown.
(image from PBA.ph)
Team Pilipinas is all smiles in the locker room as
the Philippine flag is proudly displayed.
(image from the SMART-Gilas Facebook page)
Jet Chang and the Taiwanese upended the
Koreans on the last day of the tourney.
(image from Basketball-Tpe.org)
LA Tenorio defied the odds and came up
big for SMART-Gilas.
(image from Basketball-Tpe.org)
Marcus Douthit's double-double provided a
big lift for the Philippines against the US.
(image from Basketball-Tpe.org)

Here are the screencaps of the box scores from Days 7-9 courtesy of Chris Wang from Taiwan Hoops (I hope you can understand Chinese):

Day 7 Box Scores:

Anyang (KGC) over Japan, 84-62

SMART-Gilas over Iran, 77-75

Taiwan-A over Taiwan-B, 84-66

USA over Jordan, 77-66

Day 8 Box Scores:

Jordan over Taiwan-B, 85-71

Anyang (KGC) over Iran, 82-73

Lebanon over USA, 70-67

SMART-Gilas over Taiwan-A, 76-72

Day 9 Box Scores:

Iran over Jordan, 87-74

Japan over Lebanon, 89-70

Taiwan-A over Anyang (KGC), 77-72

SMART-Gilas over USA, 76-75

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