Friday, 23 September 2011

Philippines books semis slot, crushes Chinese Taipei

Posted by chardyboy on Friday, September 23, 2011 0 comments


WUHAN, China—Smart Gilas Pilipinas is two huge steps away from doing the improbable in the Fiba Asia Championship.
Tentative at the onset, Smart Gilas Pilipinas went into high gear in the second half and trounced ChineseTaipei, 95-78, Saturday night to gatecrash into the semifinals of the Olympic qualifier at the Wuhan Gymnasium.
Marcus Douthit fired a game-high 37 points—he tossed in a rare three-pointer when business was wrapped up—and Ranidel De Ocampo added 18 as the Filipinos made a breakthrough entry into the medal round of the Asian championship for the first time since 1987.
Smart Gilas thus arranged a semifinal showdown against Jordan, which ended Iran’s proud dominance in the continent with an 88-84 upset of the two-time Fiba Asia champions.
Iran’s fall from grace eased the path somewhat for the Philippines, which had already beaten Jordan earlier in the preliminary phase of the tournament.
The winner of that semifinal matchup advances to the championship. South korea booked a semifinal slot in the other half of the draw and will face the winner of the China-Lebanon quarterfinal showdown being played at presstime.
From a slim 45-42 halftime edge, the Filipinos ran roughshod over the Taiwanese, scoring 20 points under six minutes for a 13-point cushion entering the fourth.
Three-pointers by Lu Cheng-Ju and jumpers by Lin Chih-Chieh brought Chinese Taipei back to life, 78-85, but Smart Gilas quickly doused the fire with fantastic plays in the end.
Skipper Chris Tiu calmly made his freethrows and De Ocampo found himself free inside, putting the Nationals on top by double-digits again with 1:33 to play and ultimately silencing the pro-Taiwanese crowd.
Douthit’s three from the corner with five ticks remaining sealed history for Smart Gilas.
The last time the PH five made it into the semifinals of the Asian championship was in 1987 Bangkok where the country finished fourth after winning it all the year before.
This year’s Asian championship stakes a single continental ticket to next year’s London Olympics.
Naturalized forward Moon Taejong fired five three-pointers and finished with 17 points as South Korea booked a semifinal ticket with an 86-67 whipping of Japan.
The Jordanians dashed the hopes of an Iranian hat-trick in the Asian championship. Iran had previously won the crown in 2007 in Tokushima, Japan and 2009 in Tianjin. Iran’s Tokushima victory allowed it to represent the continent in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Chinese Taipei had a couple of casualties before going out.
Guard Hsueh-Lin Lee’s was taken out on a stretcher with 6:52 in the third after his bloodied elbow hit Casio’s head while center Wu Tai Hao was accidentally hit in the crotch on his way to the hole near the end of the same period.
Another potential upset wafted in the air as Smart Gilas kicked it off miserably, allowing the Taiwanese to zoom away with a 23-14 cushion on incursions by forward Chen Hsin-An, a Tseng Wen Ting tip-in and Wu Tai Hao’s open three.
Marcio Lassiter found Ranidel De Ocampo underneath and Douthit dropped it in to cut the deficit to four. Guard Hsueh-Lin Lee’s heave at midcourt had a good line but bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Alapag’s three and his feed inside to Douthit provided temporary relief, 26-27, but Mao Chia En’s triple and layup again pushed Chinese Taipei comfortably ahead.
A Casio three-pointer followed by a De Ocampo drive and Lassiter’s runner knotted the count at 42 before Asi Taulava scored on a putback and Casio hit another triple, bringing the Filipinos back to life, 45-42, at the break.


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