Gilas Pilipinas Ranidel de Ocampo stretches for a layup. Image from FIBAasia.net
MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE) Gilas Pilipinas leaned on Ranidel De Ocampo’s booming triple to put away a highly competitive Jordan squad Tuesday night via a heart-stopping 71-70 victory in the FIBA Asia Cup at the Wuhan Sports Center in China.
The nationals were up by three points, 68-65, going to the final two minutes when Jordan knotted the scores on a free throw and a bucket.
But De Ocampo managed to get a clean look at the ring and hit a dagger three to make it 71-68 for Gilas with 41 seconds to go.
Jordan, which was coached by former Philippine team coach Rajko Toroman, closed the gap on the free throw line, but this wasn’t enough to upend the Filipinos.
“We have great regard for each other and share a lot of notes very often,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes in the FIBA Asia website.
Reyes used to be Toroman’s assistant when the Serbian was the Philippine team coach two years ago.
“This game was certainly not about Rajko versus Reyes as much as Jordan versus Philippines. And we have a lot more to worry about what will happen two months from now than what happened two years ago,” Reyes said, referring to the Gilas’ upcoming stint in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
Gilas was in control of the game in the opening quarter with LA Tenorio and Gary David leading the charge, 17-12.
But Jordan, paced by Wasam Al-Sous, managed to wipe out Gilas' upper hand and seized a 52-49 lead in the next two quarters.
Marcus Douthit, Paul Lee and Tenorio then put together a 6-2 run that brought Gilas back to the driver's seat early in the fourth, 55-54.
It was a neck-and-neck affair for the next eight minutes until De Ocampo hit his booming triple less than a minute to go before the end regulation.
Lee topscored Gilas with 16 points, while De Ocampo added 14 for the nationals’ third straight victory in the FIBA tournament. Douthit, or his part, scored 13 points to go with his 9 rebounds.
Al-Sous had 14 for Jordan, which also got 13 from A. Al Dwairi.
Reyes was pleased with the challenge put up by Jordan as this forced Gilas to adjust their game.
“Some of the plays he (Toroman) made forced us to change our system and adjust. We are looking for exactly that kind of challenges when we play here,” said the Gilas coach.
The Philippines is currently on top of the Group B standings with an unblemished record of 3-0.