Filipinos settle for 4th place

By June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Lebanon foils Gilas-RP five

HSINCHUANG, TAIWAN—Lebanon punished Smart Gilas-Pilipinas with a deluge of three-pointers in the second half to pull off a come-from-behind 73-62 victory and clinch second place in the 32nd William Jones Cup International Basketball Tournament here.

Elie Estephan buried five straight triples in a decisive stretch and the FIBA World Championship-bound Lebanese completed their resurgence from 15 points down, 35-50, to prevail.

Lebanon broke the zone by firing 10 of its 11 three-pointers in the second half while Smart Gilas, which missed most of its shots in the closing minutes, struggled completely in defending the arc and scored only 10 points down the stretch.

The Filipinos were also badly beaten off the boards, 27-44, allowing the Lebanese to snare a handful of second-chance points.

“We controlled the game for three quarters, but in the end, we didn’t control the rebound and that decided the game,” said Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman after the RP team finished fourth in the seven-team tournament.

“Those threes also killed us.”

Toroman said he would address the rebounding problem by adding 6-foot-7 Kelly Williams of Talk ‘N Text in the power forward rotation. Williams is expected to suit up for Gilas after the ongoing PBA Fiesta Conference.

Toroman’s crew will again meet Lebanon in the opening game of the FIBA Asia Stankovic Cup next month in Beirut.

After Estephan’s snipings pushed Lebanon to a 66-60 lead, naturalized Lebanese and former NBA forward Jackson Vroman finished the job by banging in seven straight points, including a three-point play off Marcus Douthit.

Iran, which was playing host Chinese Taipei at press time, defended the Jones Cup crown after downing Lebanon last Saturday. Japan copped third place.

The scores:

LEBANON 73—Estephan 17, Vroman 16, Reda 11, Nour 10, Pharis 7, Mahmoud 4, Fahed 3, Kanan 3, Rustom 2, Samaha 0.

SMART GILAS 62—Baracael 20, Tiu 13, Casio 9, Lasitter 7, Douthit 6, Lutz 3, Aguilar 2, Slaughter 2, Barocca 0.

Quarters: 18-19, 25-37, 49-52, 73-62

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