Shaky Gilas outlasts Japan in Jones Cup

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Christian Standhardinger had a double-double against Japan. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

The Philippine national men’s basketball team needed a huge fourth quarter to take down a young Japanese squad, 100-85, in the William Jones Cup on Tuesday afternoon in Taiwan.

Gilas Pilipinas struggled to defend the hot-shooting Japanese in the first three quarters, and settled for a 66-all deadlock entering the final frame.

It was only in the fourth period that the Filipinos found their rhythm, with Matthew Wright and Mike Myers conspiring to push Gilas Pilipinas ahead for good while the Japanese faded.

The Philippines outscored Japan, 34-19, in the pivotal fourth frame to surge to their third consecutive victory in the Jones Cup, and improve to 3-1.

Fil-German big man Christian Standhardinger submitted a superb effort for Gilas, coming off the bench to score 22-points on 10-of-12 shooting, on top of 15 rebounds, two steals, and one block. Myers contributed 17 points and 17 boards, including a couple of slam dunks in the fourth period that helped the Philippines pull away.

Wright, coming off a 21-point performance against Chinese Taipei B on Monday, had 15 points off the bench this time around, while Kiefer Ravena and Jiovani Jalalon each scored 11 points. 

Japan made life difficult for Gilas Pilipinas in the first half, with their superb ball movement leading to several open shots from beyond the arc. Yusei Sugiura and Shuto Ando punished the Filipinos for their slow rotation, as they combined to make six triples in the first half to give Japan a 42-41 lead.

Jalalon, Myers, and Standhardinger sparked the Filipinos in the third period, combining for a 10-0 run that turned a 52-57 deficit to a 62-57 lead. However, Japan came back with a 9-2 exchange of their own and only a nifty floater by Jalalon in their final possession allowed Gilas to tie the game at 66 heading into the fourth frame.

The Japanese ran out of bullets in the payoff period, however. After two free throws by Kengo Nomoto gave Japan a 73-72 lead, the Filipinos scored 12 unanswered points, highlighted by a superb drive to the basket by Wright for a near slam dunk.

A lay-up by Ravena capped the run for Gilas and gave them an 84-73 lead with 3:14 to go, and the Philippines did enough the rest of the way to hold off Japan.

After giving up eight three-pointers in the first half, the Philippines limited Japan to only 4-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc in the second half. Gilas shot 47.9% from the field, while Japan shot 42.8%.

Japan dropped to 0-4 in the 10-team tournament. 

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)



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