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Friday, August 24, 2012

PH beats defending champ Iran in Jones Cup


MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) -- Smart-Gilas Pilipinas II bounced back from a loss to Lebanon with a smashing win over defending champion Iran for a share of the lead in the 34th William Jones Cup Friday in Taipei.
Following a 91-72 loss to Lebanon on Thursday, the nationals eked out a 77-75 win against the reigning champion.
Gilas’ Gabe Norwood, who tallied 17 points, was named Player of the Game.
The Filipinos engaged the Iranians in a tight game in the first two quarters before launching a huge rally that resulted to a 58-49 lead at the end of the third canto.
Gary David’s triple and a clutch basket by Sol Mercado widened the gap to 63-51 at the start of the final quarter.
Gilas, however, had trouble finishing the job as Marcus Douthit, Jeffrei Chan and Ranidel de Ocampo missed crucial free throw shots just seconds remaining in the game.
Fortunately, the Filipinos were able to pull through after Iran’s Mahdi Kamrani missed a buzzer beating three-pointer.
“Iran is a tough team. They never die, very physical, and warriors. But we showed the heart of our team and how far we can go,” said Douthit in The Philippine Star.
Douthit scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds. The Philippines avenged the their defeat to the Iranians last year.
“They barely beat us last year, and they celebrated too much. It stuck to my head and I won’t forget it,” he said.
The Philippines is now tied with the United States and Iran on top of the standings of the tournament with a 5-1 win-loss slate.
The Filipinos can take home the title if they succeed in their final 2 assignments.
Gilas is booked to play against Chinese Taipei on Saturday and the US on Sunday.


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