Gilas bucks shaky start, squeaks past Al Mouttahed 79-77

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 12 2013 07:21 PM | Updated as of Jan 13 2013 03:21 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas overcame a flat start and outlasted Al Mouttahed of Lebanon in a battle in the second half for a 79-77 decision in the opening day of the 24th Dubai International Basketball Tournament at Al Ahli Club in Dubai Friday night.

Garvo Lanete, a former San Beda stalwart who was one of two cadet players playing for the triumphant Phl team in the last Jones Cup in Taipei, took a big steal in the closing seconds, dashing the Lebanese’ chance to send the game into overtime.

Letran stalwart Kevin Alas failed to seal the outcome of the game earlier as he muffed two free throws.

“Beat Mottaheed of Lebanon w 3 US imports & 3 natl team players after being down by 15 in d 1st,” said national coach Chot Reyes in his Twitter account.

Naturalized Filipino player Marcus Douthit top scored with 20 points while Lanete and Ronjay Buenafe added 15 and 10, respectively, for Gilas Pilipinas who would be up next against the host club late last night.

First-game jitters had the Filipinos yielding the first 11 points to the Lebanese, but Gilas charged into the game in the second quarter.

A group composed mostly of young players being prepared for the coming SEA Games, Gilas was already on top, 41-40, at the turn.

Import Marc Salyers and national players Rony Fahed and Roy Samaha spearheaded the bid of the losing team.