Former NBA Cager misses action for Chinese
MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE) Smart Gilas Pilipinas 2.0 coach Chot Reyes agrees with Yao Ming's earlier statement that in order for them to make it into the FIBA-World Championship and the Olympics, they must first beat China.
That's why Reyes and the Nationals took it to heart to maul the Shanghai Sharks, 80-72, in the Philippine-China Friendship Games before a decent crowd at the MOA Arena in Pasay City last night.
And the win over the Sharks was a nice start.
"I agree with him (Yao) that any qualification dream by us will have to go through beating China," said Reyes. "I also have to add that we also need to beat Iran because they're the two best basketball country in Asia."
It didn't matter that the Sharks, a team owned by the 7-6 Yao, played minus their veteran guard, Liu Wei, who played for a time for the Los Angeles Lakers, reportedly due to a bad case of stomach flu he got in the country the day before.
"He (Liu) had a diarrhea," said Shanghai Sharks coach Wang Qun through an interpreter.
"It would have been nice if Liu Wei played, we were expecting him to play," said Reyes.
Reyes, however, was just too happy to see his team play this well despite limited practice and jetlag.
"In this game, we saw the Philippine basketball in full display," said Reyes. "I also wanted to the future of PH basketball against topnotch opposition like the Shanghai Sharks. We saw Junmar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar and Greg Slaughter play for the first time."
"I'm really very pleased and the three acquitted themselves well," he added.
The Nationals saw its once mighty lead, which went as big as 19 points, cut to just five points, 72-77, with less than a minute to go but hang tough enough with key defensive stops to preserve the win.
Gary David fueled another offensive salvo with three rainbow connections that saw Gilas taking a commanding 63-44 lead midway in the third period.
Garvo Lanete then closed out the quarter by burying two consecutive three-pointers that saw the Nationals keep a huge 71-52 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
Gilas made it a 49-32 lead on a free throw by Marcus Douthit early in the third canto.
Gilas had a balanced scoring in the first half with Gabe Norwood leading the way with nine points while Jeff Chan, RR Garcia and Fajardo scattered six points apiece during that stretch.
Zhang Zhaoxu led the Sharks with his imposing inside presence as he came through with eight points and nine boards in the first two quarters.
The Nationals sized up their Chinese foes at the start of the game and barely led, 20-14, at the end of the first quarter.
But RR Garcia drained a couple of booming triples to fuel a mighty run that saw the Filip
Gilas 80 – David 14, Aguilar 11, Douthit 11, Norwood 11, Lanete 10, Chan 9, Garcia 8, Ganuelas 2, Douthit 2, Slaughter 2, Pascual 0, Alas 0, Fajardo 0
Sharks 72 – Zhao 17, Lingyuan 14, Ligang 11, Yang 9, Sizhang 8, Laing 6, Yuan 3, Yang 2, Yi 2,
Quarterscores: 20-14; 43-30; 71-52; 80-72