Smart Gilas Pilipinas vs Iran Video reply Jones Cup 2012
Smart Gilas Pilipinas made a huge turnaround from its lousy performance against Lebanon Thursday, upending three-time defending champion Iran, 77-75, to stay in contention for the crown in the 34th Jones Cup at the TPEC Gymnasium here tonight.
The Nationals unleashed a key run in the third quarter and built a lead enough to survive missed layups and flubbed charities as they stopped the Iranians’ romp and set the stage for an exciting finish of the short one-round-robin competition among nine teams from 10 countries.
Marcus Douthit himself bounced back strong from his pathetic game against the Lebanese, and Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan provided a big help as Smart Gilas pulled the rug from under Iran, forcing a three-way tie atop the heap among the two of them and the US team at 5-1.
The Nationals automatically win the championship if they beat the host team at 7 p.m. tomorrow and the Americans at the close of the tournament on Sunday. Iran retains the crown in case it wins its last two games versus Korea and Jordan and Smart Gilas suffers a loss.
Having seen the US team up close in its 77-66 win over Jordan earlier in the day, Smart Gilas coach Chot Reyes expressed confidence they have a chance to upset the Americans.
The Iranians overcame the Americans, 97-89, in double overtime Wednesday.
The Nationals were hardly fazed by the Iranians, though, putting up a gallant stand to beat the 2007 and 2007 FIBA Asia champs for the first time since the 2010 Stankovic Cup in Lebanon.
“It shouldn’t be that close if not for our two missed layups and four free throw misses at endgame,” rued national coach Chot Reyes.
“But that’s something we’ve talked about. It’s different when you’re playing with the name of the country on your jersey. That’s something we have to learn and get used to,” Reyes also said.
The Nationals led by 12, 63-51, early in the fourth but later wavered under pressure and barely survived with Mahdi Kamrani missing a game-winning three-point attempt at the buzzer.
Smart Gilas failed to close out the game as Douthit, Chan and Ranidel de Ocampo flubbed four charities in the last 31.5 seconds.
“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.
Douthit came through with 22 points and 10 rebounds as he played with great determination to get back at the Iranians.
“They barely beat us last year, and they celebrated too much. It stuck to my head and I won’t forget it,” said Douthit, all business in a turnaround to his lousy game the previous night.
Reyes said it helped that he rested his key men when the Lebanese have put the game away Thursday.
“It was a calculated gamble. We knew we could afford to lose that game but couldn’t afford to lose to the Iranians. So we rested our main players for this game,” said Reyes.
The Nationals engaged the Iranians in a toe-to-toe battle in the first 26 minutes of the game before coming through with a decisive attack, opening a nine-point lead, 58-49, at the end of the third quarter.
A three-pointer by Gary David and a drive by Sol Mercado stretched Gilas’ lead to 12, 63-51, at the start of the payoff period.
The Iranians, however, didn’t fade away, riding on the one-man show of star forward Samad Bahrami to get back into the game in the closing minute.
Held to three points in the first half, Bahrami exploded for 23 in the final half, including back-to-back drives getting the Iranians to within one at 75-76 with 7.7 ticks left.
A quick foul sent Chan to the line, and the Iranians saw a ray of hope when the former Rain or Shine gunner split.
Kamrani took matters into his hands, bringing down the ball and himself launched a trey that missed to the relief of the Gilas team and the Phl gallery that included PBA commissioner Chito Salud, board chair Robert Non and other PBA officials Mon Segismundo, Patrick Gregorio and Willie Marcial.
PHL 77 – Douthit 22, Norwood 17, Chan 12, Mercado 8, David 8, Fonacier 6, De Ocampo 2, Tenorio 0, Villanueva 0, Thoss 0.
Iran 75 – Bahrami 26, Kardoust 16, Sahakian 12, Afagh 8, Kamrani 5, Aslani 4, Nabipour 4, Atashi 0, Hamed 0.
Quarters: 21-19, 33-33, 58-49, 77-75
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source: Nelson Beltran | philstar.com