FIBA-Asia Champions Cup: Lebanon wins... RP Team 4th place

Asi Taulava battles against a Syrian player 

I just checked my Twitter and I found Patricia Hizon and Fidel Mangonon tweeting that Smart-Gilas failed to claim the bronze medal against Qatar’s Al Rayyan, 71-64.

I actually wanted to watch the semis and finals action of the tourney but weekend obligations got in the way. I was sad because from the way they were playing, I thought Smart-Gilas had the tools to dish out the pain.

The Nationals lost their outside touch as they went 3-of-24 in the 3-point zone. Smart-Gilas came close at 50-48 but the missed shots made it hard for them to take the lead from the Qataris. The bronze spot could have this edition of the FIBA-Asia Champions Cup to be the Philippines’ best finish in 15 years.

In the main event, Fadi El-Khatib and the rest of Al-Riyadi Lebanon nailed Mahram of Iran to clinch the championship with an emphatic 91-82 win. El-Khatib, dubbed the Michael Jordan of Asia scored a tourney record of 41 points and this stat was further bolstered with a 19-of-22 free throw mark.

It wasn’t a bad mark for the Philippine Team especially since we played with no imports (we can say that since Marcus Douthit is already a naturalized player) and Rajko Toroman has yet to beef up the roster with Jimmy Alapag and Kelly Williams. With the FIBA Asia Championships drawing closer, the country needs to handle going against big teams and if this is an indication of the future, then the future looks bright for Team Pilipinas.  

Up next in the country’s calendar will be the Jones Cup, where Smart-Gilas Team Pilipinas will slug it out with the same teams and hopefully the tournament will end with a positive result.

The Mythical Five of the Champions Cup comprises of Jordan’s Sam Daghles, Lebanon’s Fadi El-Khatib, Lebanon’s Ismail Ahmad, Iran’s Nik Kah Bahrami, and the naturalized Marcus Douthit of Smart-Gilas at the center spot.

Game over!


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