Gilas Pilipinas' Paul Lee fires an attempt against Chinese Taipei.
MANILA (UPDATE 1) – Gilas Pilipinas squandered a 16-point lead before charging back in the fourth quarter to a complete a 78-64 victory over Chinese-Taipei in the country’s opening game in the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China on Saturday.
Paul Lee scored 8 of his 18 points to help Gilas claw back in the fourth quarter against the Taiwanese squad that crushed Jordan, 85-63, on Friday.
The FIBA Asia Cup is part of Gilas’ preparation for the 2014 FIBA Worlds next month.
Coach Chot Reyes admitted the national team showed signs of rust as it was their first international competition since the FIBA Asia Championship in 2013.
“Almost 30 turnovers may not be the best way to go forward,” said Reyes in the FIBA Asia website.
“But I’m not complaining. This is the first game after a long time. Some guys are just coming off a long PBA season. And some of them are wearing this uniform for the first time. There’s bound to be some pressure,” he said. “I think we’ll come along alright.”
Gilas appeared to be coasting along against the Taiwanese when they posted a 35-19 lead in the second quarter, but Chinese-Taipei found their groove late in that stanza and seized a 50-44 advantage on Lu Chi-min’s lead.
Lee then led a key 13-0 Gilas Pilipinas rally that gave them the upper hand, and the Philippine team never looked back.
Gary David added 16 points for Gilas, which also got 11 points each from Ranidel de Ocampo and LA Tenorio. Naturalized player Marcus Douthit manned the paint with 16 rebounds to go with his 8 points.
Lu paced Chinese-Taipei with 15 points, while naturalized player Quincy Davis was held to just 7.
Gilas Pilipinas now holds the top spot in Group B, where it is clustered with Jordan, Chinese Taipei and Singapore.