They say that you can tell that a team has character if it can bounce back after a terrifying loss. Well, that's exactly what Smart Gilas did after they lost to the Jones Cup 2011 league leader Korea. They've just beaten the UAE National Team by 35 points, 95-60. They showed no mercy to the win-less UAE team. As a result of this win, Gilas now has a 4-2 win-loss record while UAE continues to be win-less with a 0-6 win-loss record.
The game was close in the first half with the 5'9, lefty, fiery and cat quick point guard of UAE, Khalifa Salem leading the way for his team. He used his quickness and nice touch from the outside to help his team make the game close. In fact, in the end of the 2nd quarter the lead of Gilas was only 7 points, 38-31.
But in the second half, Khalifa Salem, UAE's point guard failed to maintain his momentum. Gilas halted him to just 15 points. He slowly crumbled and thus, his team also crumbled because he was their anchor in this game. In my opinion, they crumbled because they just can't guard the big men of Smart Gilas Pilipinas, specifically Marcus Douthit and Asi Taulava.
Those 2 big men of Gilas led their team in having a huge 27 point run in the start of the 3rd quarter up to the 4th quarter wherein they scored 30 points en route to beating UAE by 35 points. Douthit punished UAE with a double-double monster performance, 23 points and 13 rebounds.
The UAE Team lacks the much needed height to compete well in the International tournaments. As a manifestation on how short their team is compared to other teams in the 2011 Jones Cup, they're the only team in the league that allowed Asi Taulava get some dunks. Asi had 2 monster dunks in this game. He was able to dominate the big men of UAE.
On a lighter note, I'm happy for Asi because he was able to turn back the hands of time in this match. It's been quite some time since I last saw Asi dunk the ball. He's not that young anymore and in fact, I heard that he's scheduled to retire from International Basketball this year once the FIBA Asia Championships is over. So, it's a nice thing to see Asi enjoying and turning the hands of time in the 2011 Jones Cup.
The hard work of Asi and Marcus along with the steadiness of Jayvee Casio in the guard position will be the main staple for Gilas in the final stages of the 2011 Jones Cup. We'll see them do their thing again tomorrow as they face the Japanese team which is making a late run in the tournament.
Japan brought in additional players last Tuesday along with their veteran head coach Wisman Thomas. Those additional players are composed of some national team members and other recruits from college schools who are fresh from their South American training. Thus, we should expect a much improved Japanese team tomorrow.
Japan currently have a 3-3 win-loss record and they are one of the 2 teams who were able to beat the very strong Jordan Team. If Japan will beat Gilas tomorrow, they might snatch the last semi-finals slot from Gilas. That's why tomorrow's game is important for our national team.
Here are the scores:
PHILIPPINES 95—Douthit 23, Lutz 13, Lassiter 10, Taulava 10, Aguilar 8, Hontiveros 7, Casio 7, Tiu 6, Barroca 4, Ababou 4, Baracael 3, Ballesteros 0.
UAE 60—Salem 15, Braiki 13, Mubarak 8, Omar 6, Alameri 5, Zaabi 5, Ahmed 4, Abdalla 4, Ahmad 0, Alhattawi 0, Alali 0, Almehairi 0.
Quarters: 19-10; 38-31; 65-49; 95-60