Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gilas dominates listless Uzbekistan, faces Macau tomorrow

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Smart Gilas Pilipinas marched on after its 78-68 conquest of Lebanon yesterday, tearing to shreds the lowly Uzbekistan side, 85-50, and put a lock on a spot in the knockout stage of the fourth FIBA Asia Cup at the Ota Gymnasium here Sunday.

The Nationals just eye better seeding in the playoffs as they take on another unheralded rival Macau in their last assignment in group matches at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow.

So dominant were the Filipinos versus the Uzbeks whom they held scoreless for almost 10 minutes in one stretch in the match cheered on lustily by the predominantly Filipino crowd at the spanking modern playing venue.

Smart Gilas ripped the game open, 37-16, on a swashbuckling 17-to-nothing run and the Nationals went through the motion to complete the victory that assured them of a quarterfinals slot probably against Qatar or Chinese Taipei.

It was an easy match allowing coach Chot Reyes to give his main players some rest and at the same time experiment some defensive ploys.

“The challenge was for the players not to develop bad habits in this game. What we wanted was to improve our good habits on defense,” said Reyes.

Having scouted the Uzbeks as a mere five-deep team, Gilas starters Marcus Douthit, LA Tenorio, Ranidel de Ocampo, Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood wore them down early with a pressing defense and an up-tempo attack.

The Uzbeks were exhausted by the time Reyes fielded his second team on a platoon substitution.

Larry Fonacier, Jarred Dillinger, Matt Genuelas, Sonny Thoss and JayR Reyes kept the pressure, and the Nationals broke away never to look back in the second quarter.

The Uzbeks hardly had anything to offer in the final half turned to show time by the Gilas reserves.

The Filipino crowd and the Gilas bench specifically cheered on Ganuelas as the 22-year-old Fil-Am guard put up highlight plays, including a two-handed jam, an acrobatic layup and an authoritative block of an Uzbek shot.

Ganuelas grabbed 11 rebounds, scored eight points, issued four assists and took three steals in 17 minutes of action – his longest exposure in a game from their Jones Cup title run.

Reyes, Thoss and Rico Villanueva also played long minutes and they collected good numbers although Chan still emerged the top scorer with 20 points on 8-of-15 field shooting.

Struggling with 1-of-9 three-point shooting in the first two games, Chan finally found his touch, converting four of seven attempts.

The whole team hit at a 40-percent clip (8-of-20) after shooting just 20 percent (4-of-20) in the first game versus China and 17 percent (6-of-35) in the next game versus Lebanon.

“We played the defense that we’re practicing but we tried to hide some of our offensive plays,” said Reyes who intended to do the same against Macau.

“We’ll again rest our core players but we’ll work hard in practice in the evening. We’ll be off Tuesday and return to practice Wednesday in preparation for the quarters,” Reyes also said.

Douthit played only 14:32 against Uzbekistan, getting nine points, four rebounds, one assist and one block against four turnovers.

The scores:

Philippines 85 – Chan 20, Dillinger 10, Douthit 9, Ganuelas 8, David 7, Fonacier 7, Reyes 7, Villanueva 6, De Ocampo 5, Norwood 4, Tenorio 2, Thoss 0.

Uzbekistan 50 – Denisov 16, Juginisov 12, Kozlov 6, Yakhin 6, Rahimov 6, Tangrikulov 2, Nuraliev 2, Nabiev 0, Safarov 0, Timofeev 0, Kadirov 0.

Quarterscores: 23-16, 39-21, 63-33, 85-50-The Philippine Star (September 16, 2012 02:02PM)

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