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MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine national basketball team leaned on the strong play of young stars Terrence Romeo and Moala Tautuaa to come away with a 75-60 victory over Japan on Wednesday, September 2, at the Xinchuang Gymnasium in Taipei.
With the win, Gilas improved to 3-1 in their Jones Cup campaign while the Japanese lost for the fourth time in as many games. While their opponents were playing after getting a day off on Wednesday, the Philippines were in action for the fourth straight time.
It was a close contest heading into the final period, with Terrence Romeo’s buzzer-beater to end the third quarter giving Head Coach Tab Baldwin’s team a 46-44 lead.
Romeo opened the final 10 minutes of play with another basket, extending his club’s lead to 4.
After getting a stop, 2015 PBA Draft number one pick Moala Tautuaa – who played more minutes with both Asi Taulava (rest) and Sonny Thoss (head) sitting – found an open Matt Ganuelas-Rosser underneath for an easy reverse lay-up.
Later on, it was Tautuaa’s turn to score, and to say he impressed would be an understatement.
The 26-year-old first used a crossover to get to the rim and throw down a jam to put the national squad ahead by 8, 54-56, with 6:10 to go.
A few possessions later, the former PBA D-League MVP barrelled through his opponent on the break and threw down a two-handed slam to extend Gilas’ lead to 58-46.
Japan managed to score a basket, but consecutive 3-pointers by Jayson Castro and Gary David sealed the win for the Philippines by extending the lead to 64-48 with a few minutes remaining.
Tautuaa finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting to go with 6 rebounds, while Romeo put up 16 points and 4 boards. Both guys came off the bench.
Castro finished with 10 points, while David and Gabe Norwood combined for 17 markers.
Gilas will be back in action on Thursday, September 3, when they take on their rivals from Iran at 1:00 pm.
Iran, the 2013 FIBA Asia Champions, is coming off a loss against the United States in a game where Hamed Haddadi did not see action. – Rappler.com