Gilas gets 2nd straight Jones Cup win, frustrates Taipei B

By Nelson Beltran

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Games Wednesday

11 a.m. – Taipei B vs Iraq

1 p.m. – Japan vs Philippines

3 p.m. – India vs Iran

5 p.m. – South Korea vs Lithuania

7 p.m. – Canada vs Taipei A

TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas broke the hearts of the home fans for the second straight day here, completing a sweep of the two home teams with a 93-82 conquest of the young but gritty Taipei B in the 2017 Jones Cup at the Taipei Peace Basketball Gymnasium Monday.

On pins and needles through the first 34 minutes of the game, the Nationals leaned on clutch shots by Matthew Wright, Jio Jalalon, RR Pogoy and Kiefer Ravena to open double-digit spreads before eventually holding off this Taipei squad set to play in the coming Universiade.

“Going to the Jones Cup, I always fear the most playing Taipei B because they play with a lot of energy. They come in and they have nothing to lose. I told the guys come out with maximum effort because the other team will do,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes.

“At the half, I told the guys now you believe me we can’t take this team lightly. Now you know how serious this team is,” Reyes added.

Cutting down on errors when they needed to in the crunch helped Gilas came through with a follow-up to their 88-72 drubbing of Taipei A the previous night.

With the back-to-back wins, Gilas stayed in a tie at second place with Lithuania and Iraq at 2-1 behind first-day tormentor Canada (3-0).

Wright continued to showcase his great shooting prowess, firing away 5-of-9 three-pointers and a game-high total of 21 points. The Phoenix Petroleum rookie gunner was 6-of-8 from beyond the arc in their first two games.

Pogoy, Ravena and Jalalon also provided spunk, hustle and firepower helping Gilas through against the Kyle Barone-reinforced Taipei side that was a threat until the Filipinos took an 88-77 lead on a decisive 11-2 run entering the last two minutes of the game.

“We came out flat coming from an emotional game and we gave them the confidence that they can beat us. It’s good that we got it out together in the end,” said Wright.

Barone, a former Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year with Idaho U, was a big boost for the Taiwanese with a double-double game of 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Christian Standhardinger slowed down with six points and nine rebounds after two awesome games, but Mike Myers picked the slacked, coming through with 14 markers and the same number of rebounds.

But from the 77-75 count, the Nationals banked on their guards and wingmen to nail the win.

Pogoy fired two treys and a total of 15 points, Jalalon came up with 13 markers, five assists, five rebounds and one steal while Ravena logged 10 markers, seven assists, two rebounds, two steals and one block.

The last of the Nationals’ 11 three-pointers in the game – courtesy of Pogoy – eventually took the fight out of the home team, 88-77.

“Credit to the guys, they came in there with less than a 24-hour rest in between games. More of the guys had never experienced playing back-to-back before. And if we play with no energy, we are nothing,” said Reyes.

 

“Taipei played with tremendous energy and we just hung in there and found a way to grind it out in the end,” Reyes added.

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