While I was watching this game of our very own Smart Gilas Pilipinas against ASU, I was remembering the days when the 5'11 Jayvee Casio was still playing for De La Salle University. He was as deadly as he used to be. I just like to point out that he has a better field goal shooting than Chris Tiu today and he helped Gilas win using his veteran smarts and using his patented tear drop shot over the 7'0 Jameel Watkins. Casio's young but he showed how badly he wanted to win this game. He's a solid point guard for Gilas. I'm sure coach Ato Badolato and Coach Franz Pumaren are smiling right now because they were the coaches who molded Casio to play like this. He had enough points coming from beyond the arc to help his team win. Casio had 12 points in this game. The final score of this game was 76-74 in favor of Gilas.
But the biggest star in this win was the 34 year-old PBA veteran Don-Don Hontiveros. His performance today is comparable to that of Kobe Bryant's performance. Hontiveros' shooting stroke reminds of Kobe's stroke. Just like Kobe, Don-Don was the one who kept Gilas afloat against the taller Jordanians. His three-point shots were the key for Gilas because they were smaller in height compared to Jordan. They need to convert on their free outside shots or else they will not have any chance inside against the Jordanians. Hontiveros had 23 points in this very close game. The ASU Jordan won all the quarters except the all important 4th quarter.
Marcus Douthit and Asi Taulava were able to held their own against the very tall former San Miguel import Jameel Watkins. Jameel still had 25 points in this game but his presence on the floor was diluted by our two important big men, Asi and Marcus. Douthit added 14 points in just a limited time because of foul trouble. Taulava on the other hand added 12 huge rebounds and a very important defensive gem against Watkins when Jordan was making a run.
The scoring of this game was a very low one because both of the teams played excellent defenses from both ends of the court. Smart Gilas was fortunate that their outside shooting was better than Jordan. Gilas now have 4 wins and 0 losses. They are now on top of Group A and they will face the number 4 team in Group B, Syria in the quarterfinals on Friday, June 3, 2011. Jordan on the other hand will face the very difficult team to beat, Qatar.
The FIBA basketball expert, coach Rajko Toroman said that this is just one of your typical international game whic is very close and very low scoring. I now believe that Gilas has a bright future ahead of them because they were able to beat one of their arch rivals in Asia, Jordan. Their other rivals was of course, China, Iran and Lebanon.
Here's what coach Toroman said:
“This was a typical international game. Very tactical. They had the size, but I think we did very well to stop them. Of course we ran into foul trouble, but that is a part of the game."
Coach Toroman's brilliance as a coach was shown when he made a crucial decision to field in Marcus Douthit in the last 4 minutes of the ball game when Jordan was making their final run. I really like his way of thinking and his poise.
Toroman further said that:
“I have been saying from day one that Asi’s presence in the team is a great strength for us. He made us breathe a lot easier in defense. Offensively we have to pull our socks.”
Jordan's coach Frederick Oniga, on the other hand, said:
“They out ran us, that was expected. But they defended our size very well. That was the key.”
Here's the complete stats of this game.
Pilipinas-Smart Gilas 76 — Hontiveros 23 Douthit 14, Casio 12, Baracael 9, Barroca 6, Tiu 4, Taulava 4, Lutz 2, Lassiter 2, Aguilar 0.
ASU-Jordan 74 - Watkins 25, Abbas 20, Daghles 17, Mohammad 6, Sous 4, Soobzokov 2, Alawadi 0, Islam 0.
Quarter scores: 12-16, 27-28, 45-46, 76-74