(UPDATED) One day after a comfortable victory over Chinese Taipei A, the Philippine men's national basketball team found itself in a dogfight against Chinese Taipei B in the 39th edition of the William Jones Cup.
The Philippines relied on solid performances from playmakers Kiefer Ravena and Jiovani Jalalon, and a double-double from import Mike Myers, to eventually fend off Chinese Taipei B, 93-82, and improve to 2-1 in the tournament.
It was their second consecutive victory in the Jones Cup, giving them a sweep of the tournament hosts. Gilas is now tied for second place along with Lithuania and Iraq, and just behind unbeaten Canada (3-0) in the league standings.
It was in no way an easy victory, however, as Gilas needed a late Kevin Ferrer bucket off a Ravena assist just to force a 44-all deadlock at the halftime break.
A 9-0 run to open the third period afforded the Filipinos some more breathing room, but turnovers and poor defensive rotations allowed Chinese Taipei B to catch up quickly. Gilas clung to a two-point lead, 60-58, with three minutes to go in the third quarter before Matthew Wright's perimeter sniping helped the Nationals surge ahead once more, 69-62, heading into the final frame.
Gilas Pilipinas finally pulled away midway through the fourth quarter, courtesy of an 8-1 run that turned a slim 77-75 lead into an 85-76 advantage with just 3:23 left.
Ravena and Jalalon played huge roles in Gilas' breakaway, with Ravena assisting on a Jalalon floater for an 83-75 lead. Ravena then registered a highlight-reel block of Chinese Taipei B import Kyle Barone, which led to another bucket for Jalalon.
A three-pointer by Roger Pogoy off another dime from Ravena gave Gilas Pilipinas its first double-digit lead, 88-77, with 2:22 to play, and the Filipinos cruised from there.
Jalalon came off the bench to tally 13 points and five assists, while Ravena contributed 10 points, seven assists, and two steals. Myers had 14 points and 14 boards, and battled the bulky Barone inside the paint for most of the game.
Wright led Gilas with 21 points off the bench built on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.
Chinese Taipei B got another impressive performance from Chen Ying Chun, who was all over the stat-sheet with 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Barone had 16 points and 12 boards, but their efforts were not enough as their team dropped to 0-3 in the Jones Cup.
Gilas Pilipinas returns to action on Tuesday against Japan at 1 p.m.
GILAS PILIPINAS 93 - Wright 21, Pogoy 15, Myers 14, Jalalon 13, Ravena 10, Ferrer 8, Cruz 6, Standhardinger 6, Daquioag 0, Paras 0, Pessumal 0, Vosotros 0.
CHINESE TAIPEI B 82 - Chen YC 17, Barone 16, Huang TH 13, Chen CQ 9, Lee 8, Chien 5, Wen 5, Huang HH 4, Liu 3, Fan 2, Wu 0.
Quarter scores: 18-20, 44-44, 69-62, 93-82
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