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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smart-Gilas routs Malaysia


NEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan – Unable to find its rhythm early, Smart-Gilas Pilipinas used a big third quarter onslaught to score an 86-68 victory over Malaysia in a game marred by a fistfight in the William R. Jones Cup Tuesday at the Hsinjhuang Stadium here.

Philippine coach Rajko Torman opted to sit out center Marcus Douthit and injured guard JV Casio (left knee) the entire game, but still found plenty of firepower as the Filipinos cruised to leads as high as 26 points early in the fourth canto to bounce back from a stinging defeat to Jordan Monday.

They improved their record to 3-1.

The Malaysians, who are mostly made up of players from the KL Dragons that saw action in the ASEAN Basketball League, played their best game thus far after being torpedoed by their rivals in their first three games.

They were down by just three points in the first half, 37-34, but could not handle the Filipinos’ fluid offense starting in the third period to absorb their fourth straight defeat.

The Filipinos outscored their bitter SEA Games rivals, 26-9, in the third to wrest the lead for good, 63-43, which allowed the Filipinos to redeem themselves following a 76-72 loss to Jordan on Monday.

The game, though, was marred by a fistfight after center Asi Taulava unleashed two swinging punches on Yoong Jing Kwaan in third quarter with 7.4 second remaining, the Nationals up, 63-42.

The two players were separated by the referees and players, and both 6-9 Taulava and 6-10 Kwaan were penalized and ejected.

Based on video replay, Taulava, who plays for Meralco in the PBA, was apparently retaliating after Kwaan hit him in the groin in an out-of-ball play.

The Nationals took their biggest lead of the game, 75-49 on a Japeth Aguilar jumper under eight minutes remaining in the fourth.

Even with Douthit and Casio sitting on the bench, the Nationals managed to keep up with the Malaysians in the first 20 minutes of action marked by spurts and counter-spurts.

But the Malaysians were quick on the counter attack and proved dangerous from the outside, producing a run of their own as the Filipinos, who led by as many as 12 points early, found themselves leading by just three, 37-34, at the break.

Marcio Lassiter, a Filipino-American, spearheaded Gilas with 10 points in the first half followed by Mac Baracael, who made all his six points from the perimeter.

The Nationals rushed to an early 14-5 lead on a Dondon Hontiveros trey with 2:20 left in the first quarter, but closed the period on top by just three, 16-13, after the Malaysians, led by Li Wei Chee, sparked a run.

The second period followed the same script.

The Nationals opened the second canto with a 12-2 run to take a 27-15 advantage on a Baroca triple with 7:01 left, but the Malaysians unleashed an 8-0 run, including six straight from Yeow Loong Ho, to close the gap at 23-29.


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