Smart-Gilas books semis seat!

Cheng Wen Ting versus Marcus Douthit from way back

I know guys like Alvin Patrimonio, Jojo Lastimosa, Jerry Codinera, Glenn Capacio, Dindo Pumaren, Nelson Asaytono, Bong Alvarez, Benjie Paras, and the rest of the 1987 ABC Squad have retired but...

... Thank goodness for Marcus Douthit, Chris Tiu, Jimmy Alapag, Ranidel De Ocampo, JV Casio, Kelly Williams, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Lutz, Asi Taulava, and the rest of the Smart-Gilas squad!

For the first time in 24 years, Team Pilipinas will see semis action in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship!

It’s the coolest thing ever!

The Final Four is being molded to our liking. Jordan has dispatched Iran and I think we lucked out. Jordan is not a bad team and despite winning our match in the Group E phase, we can’t underestimate them. However with no question, the threat that is Hamed Haddadi is scary. He have to repeat against Rashiem Wright, Sam Daghles, Islaam Abbas, and the rest of Jordan in order for us to book an outright qualifier seat or frankly... the chance to join Team USA, Spain, France, Tunisia, Argentina, Brazil, and Australia at the 2012 London Olympics.

It all started scary for us when just like in past games, we trailed a bunch of times at the first half. But for some insane reason, we always find a way to get the lead or zero in for the kill as the halftime gong blare. Afterwards, we charge to our strong second half, fuelled by Rajko Toroman instructions that should be executed flawlessly.

Team Pilipinas changed their defensive stance from zone to man-to-man and it basically finished the Taiwanese. The guys from CT loved their open shots and just like any Far Eastern country they were making the baskets. When Smart-Gilas changed their defensive stance, it robbed of their free looks and it was all downhill at that point.

This has been repeated lots of times but the insertion of Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz were just what the doctor ordered for Smart-Gilas. Lassiter has scored in double figures in three of his four games and his all-around game gave the Taiwanese gunners hell. Meanwhile Lutz, barely made any baskets but his preciousness is seriously emphasized when he is limiting the opposing team’s aces.

Marcus Douthit is of course THE man for Smart-Gilas. Playing sluggish at the start, he brought the back to his liking and finished with 37 points, 10 rebounds, a steal, and a block. His 37 points is his highest point total ever since donning the Smart-Gilas colors.

Ranidel De Ocampo was awesome in the win. He had that very familiar somewhat top of the key triple that broke the back of the Taiwanese. Also for pun’s sake, he broke the diminutive Lee Hsueh-Lee at the third quarter. Lee was rushed out of the arena in a stretcher after an inadvertent elbow by JV Casio rocked him an accidental fingernail by Ranidel unleashed a pool of blood. De Ocampo finished with his best game of the season – 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal, and a block.

JV Casio, Jimmy Alapag, and Chris Tiu also made their presence felt in the game. Casio came alive when they needed the baskets and as did Alapag especially in terms of settling the troops in the first half while Tiu pulled the necessary stops despite his lack of size.

Here are the stats!

1 – Marcus Douthit – 21.3ppg
2 – Marcio Lassiter – 11.8ppg  
3 – Ranidel De Ocampo – 8.1ppg 
4.5 – Jimmy Alapag – 7.6ppg 
4.5 – JV Casio – 7.6ppg 

1 – Marcus Douthit – 10.4rpg
2 – Asi Taulava – 5.9rpg
3 – Marcio Lassiter – 4.5rpg
4 – Ranidel De Ocampo – 4.1rpg
5 – Kelly Williams – 3.9rpg

1 – Jimmy Alapag – 3.4apg
2 – JV Casio – 3.0apg
3 – Chris Tiu – 2.9apg
4 – Mark Barroca – 2.3apg
5 – Ranidel De Ocampo – 1.9apg

With the ouster of Iran, a new champion will be crowned. Sam Daghles has said that for Jordan it’s payback time but Smart-Gilas says otherwise.

Catch the games at 3:30pm at InterAKTV and Basketball TV when Smart-Gilas goes for destiny!

More wins ahead!



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