Gilas holds off Chinese Taipei to march into semis

Smart Gilas Pilipinas withstood a furious end-game rally by Chinese Taipei and held on for a 75-68 win to march into the semifinals of the 4th FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo, Japan.

The Filipinos appeared to have wrapped up the win after Gary David buried a corner triple that gave Gilas a commanding 71-57 lead with 3:51 left. But center Wu Tai-Hao scored on a slam to spark a 9-0 run that brought the Taiwanese within striking distance at 71-66, 1:51 to go.

Chinese Taipei had a chance to cut the lead further after Larry Fonacier missed a triple, but Lei Tien flubbed a triple of his own. On the next Gilas offensive, Gabe Norwood also failed to connect from downtown to give Chinese Taipei one more chance. But Chang Tsung-Hsien threw the ball away, and LA Tenorio canned two free throws with 27 seconds remaining to virtually ice the win.

Gilas thus set a semifinal date on Friday with Asian powerhouse Iran, which clobbered Uzbekistan, 79-37, in the first quarterfinal match. A win over Iran would allow the Philippines to surpass its fourth-place finish in the 2010 edition of this tournament, where an automatic berth to next year’s FIBA Asia Championship is at stake.

Marcus Douthit played almost the entire game and finished with another double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds. Gary David backed him up with 14 points, including four triples, while Ranidel De Ocampo was the third Gilas player in double digits with 10.

Taiwanese-American player Douglas Creighton had 21 for Chinese Taipei, but managed only one point in the fourth period.

Neither team could take control through the first three periods, with Taiwan grabbing a 13-10 lead after the first period and the Philippines exploding for 28 second-quarter points to take a 38-32 lead into the halftime break. Gilas extended its lead to 49-42 on a Jared Dillinger drive with 4:52 to go in the third, but Creighton suddenly caught fire, sinking three straight triples, the last of which gave Taiwan a 53-52 lead.

De Ocampo tipped in a Douthit miss near the end of the third, igniting a 14-2 blast capped by a Jeff Chan triple that gave Gilas its first double-digit lead at 66-55 with 6:50 to go. David’s triple extended the lead to 14, before Chinese Taipei launched that last-minute run that ultimately fell short.

Gilas boxscores: Douthit 19, David 14, De Ocampo 10, Tenorio 9, Fonacier 9, Chan 5, Dillinger 5, Norwood 4, Thoss 0.


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