Gilas wins bloody clash vs Russia in Jones Cup
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Gilas Pilipinas survived a bloody encounter with Spartak Primorye of Russia, 85-71, in the 2015 William Jones Cup on Tuesday, September 1, at the Xinchuang Gymnasium in Taipei.
The Philippines recovered from a tough loss to South Korea the day before and improved its record to 2-1 while dealing the previously undefeated Russia its first loss for a 3-1 slate.
Formerly injured Ranidel De Ocampo came back strong with 13 points, including key baskets down the stretch, while Terrence Romeo supported him with 11 markers. Gilas youngsters Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Calvin Abueva, and Moala Tautuaa tallied 10 points apiece.
Trailing by 4-15 to start the contest, Gilas rallied together after a number of bloody altercations and took a slim 43-40 halftime lead. They held control from that point on.
The nationals overcame their third quarter waterloo and outscored the Russians 18-10 to lead by double digits entering the fourth.
Russia came close, 61-55, after a 5-0 burst to open the payoff period but De Ocampo buried a 3-pointer to get Gilas going, and they re-established a sizeable edge.
De Ocampo, who's been searching for his rhythm coming off a hamstring injury in the past 3 weeks, drained another booming triple that gave Gilas a comfortable 76-65 advantage with under two minutes remaining.
Veteran Dondon Hontiveros followed that up with his own trey while big man Asi Taulava added a hard-earned basket underneath for an 81-65 lead and the finishing touches with 51 ticks still to go.
Used to banging bodies in the PBA, the Filipinos endured expected physical play from the Russian side all game long. But the game quickly turned bloody as early as the 7:59 mark of the opening period, where big man Sonny Thoss bled profusely after getting elbowed on the back of the head during a rebound play.
The physicality did not end there as rising Gilas star Romeo was involved in an altercation 4 minutes later. The 23-year old guard was hit on the face after a Russian swung his arm and moments after, bled as well after getting hit on the face with a ball. (WATCH: Terrence Romeo in scuffle with Russia as tempers flare)
Gilas will next take on Japan on Wednesday, September 2 at 3 pm.
Russia previously held the top spot after defeating USA, New Zealand, and South Korea. – Rappler.com