Gritty Gilas trips host Taiwan to notch first win in Jones Cup

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Matthew Wright’s shooting, shown in this file photo, powered Gilas Pilipinas to its first win in the tournament. PBA Media Bureau

(UPDATED) On defense, they hustled. On offense, they flowed.

The result was a first win for Gilas Pilipinas in the Jones Cup and against the hosts no less.

Matthew Wright scored 17 points, Christian Standhardinger finished with a double-double (17 points, 16 rebounds), and Kiefer Ravena stuffed the stat sheet (15 points, eight rebounds, four assists) to help the Philippines’ selection of young players beat the Taiwanese national team 88-72 at Taipei Peace International Basketball Hall on Sunday.

After a lackluster opener Saturday, coach Chot Reyes’ squad looked more settled, cutting down on turnovers and converting more shots from long distance.

The visitors were ahead throughout the game, but Taiwan seemed to consistently pose a threat.

With Gilas ahead, 75-67, in the fourth quarter, Ravena put the game away with a three-pointer and a drive off a tightly contest.

Every time Taiwan closed in on the Philippines, Reyes and his crew found a way to score. 

But it all started on defense for Gilas, which amped up its intensity on that side of the floor, constantly disrupting passing lanes and chasing down misses and loose balls. 

In the first half, Gilas went up by as many as 10 points primarily because the ball moved.

Wright took advantage of extra passes and kickouts, scoring 14 points at the break, nine of those from three-point territory and three free throws off a foul attempting a triple.

Ravena got things going for the Philippines, orchestrating a 7-0 run to start the game capped by an alley-oop to American reinforcement Mike Myers who threw it down one-handed.

Gilas next plays another Taiwan selection team at 3 p.m. on Monday.

Gilas garnered praise for its excellent play:

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