MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas started hot off the gates, but it had to scramble in the fourth quarter to repulse an upstart Taiwanese squad, 78-64, in the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China.
Gilas, bannered by 6 points from Gary David, started the game on a 10-0 run. Coach Chot Reyes’s wards continued to increase the lead to as many as 16 points, 35-19, midway in the second quarter before the Taiwanese, led by 22-year old US NCAA cager Kevin Hu, trimmed the deficit to just 10 at the half.
The Taiwanese, missing all but one of the players who participated in the 2013 FIBA Asia Men’s Championships in Manila, continued their fightback in the third period.
Hu continued to score heavily teaming up with Super Basketball League MVP Liu Cheng to further frustrate the Filipinos. Coach Huang Wan-Lung’s wards eventually outscored Gilas, 24-11, in the third to take a 50-47 lead into the final ten minutes.
Paul Lee, Ranidel De Ocampo, LA Tenorio, and Gary David then teamed up to restore order for Gilas, scoring a total of 27 of the team’s 31 fourth quarter points. Lee, De Ocampo, and David combined to make 5 treys in the final canto as the Filipinos notched their first win in Group B action.
Lee led Gilas with 18 points, 4 assists, and 4 triples, while David, starting alongside Tenorio in the backcourt, tallied 16 markers, 5 boards, and 3 treys.
Tenorio and De Ocampo each contributed 11 points, while naturalized player Marcus Douthit, possibly playing in his final tournament for Gilas, anchored the interior with 16 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. He also helped limit Taiwan’s own naturalized player, Quincy Davis, to just 7 markers.
Taiwan was paced by 15 points from Kevin Hu, while Liu Cheng dropped 13 markers.
Newly-minted PBA MVP Junemar Fajardo struggled, fouling out in just 6 minutes of action.
Gilas will play 2014 SEABA champs Singapore in their next game before taking on 2014 WABA champs Jordan to end group play.
All four Group B teams have automatic berths in the quarterfinals after Uzbekistan backed out earlier in the week.
PH (78) – Lee 18, David 16, Tenorio 11, De Ocampo 11, Douthit 8, Dillinger 5, Aguilar 4, Lanete 3, Washington 2, Alas 0, Belga 0, Fajardo 0
TPE (64) – Hu 15, Liu 13, Lu 9, Peng 8, Davis 7, Chen Y 5, Lee 3, Chen H 2, Chou 2, Chen K 0
Quarter Scores: 20-10, 36-26, 47-50, 78-64
GILAS PILIPINAS AT FIBA ASIA CUP