Gilas pulls away late to down Japan in Jones Cup

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine national team came out on top of a hard-fought battle with a young Japanese squad, extending their winning streak in the 2017 William Jones Cup to 3 with a 100-85 win on Tuesday, July 18 in Taipei, Taiwan.

After entering the fourth quarter tied at 66-all, Gilas Pilipinas blew the game wide open in the middle of final quarter, beginning with a pair of backcourt steals leading to a layup from Jio Jalalon and a 3 from Carl Bryan Cruz to take a 77-73 lead.  

Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright extended the lead to 6 when he was fouled while converting a basket near the rim with 4:35 remaining, but missed the bonus free throw. He didn’t miss the 3-pointer at the 3:46 mark which put the Philippine squad up by 9, 82-73. Kiefer Ravena then stretched the lead to 11 with a layup. 

Filipino-German player Christian Standhardinger led Gilas 22 points and 15 rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting, while Wright scored 15 and dished 4 assists. Ravena and Jalalon both pitched in 11 while import Mike Myers held down the fort with 17 points and 17 rebounds. Yusei Sugiura led Japanese scorers with 22 points.

The Philippines experienced a late scare as Jalalon appeared to hurt his left leg as Japan’s Shuto Ando fell into him after Jalalon grabbed a rebound. Jalalon limped off the court and did not play in the game’s final minute.

Gilas will play South Korea next on Wednesday at 5 pm. – Rappler.com