Thursday, 31 March 2011

Douthit returns, lifts Gilas past Gin Kings

Posted by chardyboy on Thursday, March 31, 2011 0 comments


Marcus Douthit capped his return to active roster with a 30-point, 17-rebound effort and powering Smart Gilas past Barangay Ginebra, 111-104, to clinch the first outright semifinals seat in the PBA Commissioner's Cup Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.

Missed the last time after suffering a sprained left ankle in the Nationals' 90-98 defeat to Derby Ace, Douthit readily made his presence felt behind those huge numbers and was responsible for two key plays down the stretch that decided the outcome of the match Smart Gilas led from start to finish.

The 6-foot-11 center completed a three-point play off a follow-up miss by Japeth Aguilar from three-point land, extending a six-point lead to 89-80.

Then, he made an emphatic follow-up slam off another three-point miss by Mac Baracael for a 103-95 Smart Gilas edge in the final 58 seconds.

"To be in the semi-finals is great for us. Probably nobody expected we can play at that level. We played a great game," said Nationals' coach Rajko Toroman. “I think we showed that this team has character in difficult moments. We plated an amazing defense in the first half and we were aggressive.

Marcio Lassiter backed up Douthit with 21 points on 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range, while JV Casio added 16 and Chris Lutz 15 as the three more than made up for the absence of team captain Chris Tiu, out with a left shoulder injury.

"For now, we want to improve more on our confidence going into the FIBA-Asia Championships (in September) and in the Champions’ Cup (in May)." Added Toroman.

Import Nate Brumfield, Willie Miller and Mark Caguioa finished with 21 points each, but not enough to save the day for Ginebra, which saw its four-game winning run came to an end.

The Kings fell to 5-3, but still have a good chance of making the playoffs.

Rookie Rob Labagala made his pro debut and finished with eight points for the Kings, who also got 10 points and 10 rebounds from Rudy Hatfield. Douthit was 12-of-20 from the field, 6-of-8 from the free-throw line and also had five assists and two block shots for the Nationals, who led by as many as 79-60 on a three-point play by Aguilar in the third period.

The Kings however, trimmed down the gap to 79-69 behind a 10-0 run just before the quarter ended.

They eventually cut the deficit to within five, but the Nationals always had a ready answer for them.

The Nationals fired 13 three-point shots out of 23 attempts, and waxed hot behind a 52.7 percent shooting from the field on 40 of 76 tries. - GMA News


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