Undermanned on the guard position and all because Jayvee Casio was out due to a swolen knee, the Smart Gilas Pilipinas Team still beat the very confident Japanese National Team, 94 to 78. With this win over Japan, Gilas is now in the semi-finals. They are in the number 2 spot thus, they will face Iran which is at the number 3 spot. The game will happen today at 7:00 p.m. live at ESPN and at AKTV Channel 13.
Japan won the first 3 quarters of this game because of their hot shooting from beyond the arc courtesy of their outside sniper, KJ Matsui. Matsui played like Hisashi Mitsui of Slam Dunk in this game. To those who don't know Hisashi Mitsui, he's a High School who played ball for the Shohoku High School and he's known as an outside gunner like Matsui. Matsui drained all of his three point attemptes as if there were no defenders in front of him. He shot an immaculate 8 out of 8 from beyond the arc and because of his great shooting, I heard a loud "OooooHHHHHH!" from the crowd.
KJ Matsui tallied 27 total points and his fine showing affected the overall status of his team. His team didn't play like they are the Team B of Japan. In fact, if you'll ask me how good they are, I will say that they are just at par with Japan's Team A. Their Team A is not that impressive. The Philippines can beat them based on our past national teams' performance against them. During the past when Mark Caguioa, Jay Jay Helterbrand, Gabe Norwood, and other PBA stars were playing for our National Team, they usually beat the Japan's Team A. That's why I don't see any reason why we should think that Japan's Team A is better than the Team B that Gilas beat yesterday in the Jones Cup 2011.
Going on into this game, Jayvee Casio, the number 1 point guard of Sart Gilas didn't play against Japan because of a swollen knee. He just cheered for his teammates on the bench. His absence was probably the main reason for the dismal outside shooting of Gilas especially in the first 3 quarters of this game. But thankfully, Marcus Douthit was there for Gilas. He offset-ed our lack of outside shooting by scoring 32 big points and grabbing 18 rebounds from the shaded lane. His double-double performance enabled Gilas to cut down Japan's lead down to 3 points, 65-68 at the end of the 3rd period.
In the 4th and final quarter, Gilas had a jack rabbit start due to Don Don Hontiveros outside shooting. They were able to score 29 big points in the 4th quarter alone. That was just a huge relief for coach Rajko Toroman because his team has been struggling to score in the first 3 quarters. Thankfully, due to Hontiveros' fine showing in the 4th quarter wherein he scored most of his 14 points, enabled Gilas to have a commanding lead over Japan en route to beating them 94-78. As a result of this huge win, Gilas now has 5 wins and 2 losses and they are comfortably in the 2nd spot coming into the semi-finals against Iran which will happen today at 7:00 p.m..
Here are the scores:
Philippines 94 - Douthit 32, Hontiveros 14, Tiu 11, Lassiter 11, Lutz 9, Barroca 8, Aguilar 7, Taulava 2, Baracael 0, Ballesteros 0.
Quarters: 24-20, 44-49, 65-68, 94-78
Japan 78- Keijuro Matsui 27, Fumio Nishimura 11
SMART GILAS VS. JAPAN GAME REPLAY IN JONES CUP 2011