The Smart Gilas Pilipinas national team went ice cold in the end game, shooting 1-of-13 in the fourth quarter, to fall to the taller and younger Chinese squad in their opening game at the FIBA Asia Cup in Tokyo, Japan on Friday, 71-68.
The Philippines found themselves trailing 18-15 in the first quarter, before Larry Fonacier converted on a steal and a lay-up to knot the game at 22-all with 6:13 left in the second period. The Chinese responded with an 8-0 run, before a Marcus Douthit dunk on the break made it 30-24 at the 4:37 mark.
With Gilas struggling to make their outside shots, the team went inside as Ranidel De Ocampo and Gabe Norwood kept the Philippines in the game 40-33, heading to the halftime break.
The Philippines picked up the pace in the third, with back-to-back hits by Gabe Norwood bringing the lead down to five, 49-44, with 5:41 remaining. A conversion by De Ocampo down low made it a three-point affair, 49-46, before the game was stopped at the 3:16 mark due to lighting problems at the venue.
When play resumed, Dillinger hit a triple to tie the game at 51-all with time winding down. Gary David then hit a three with 16 seconds remaining, to give the Philippines a 56-54 lead with only one period left to play.
Larry Fonacier hit a triple to start the final quarter, as Jared Dillinger and David continued with the Philippine flurry, converting on lay-ups to give Gilas a seven-point lead, 63-56.
A freet hrow by Tenorio handed Gilas its largest lead at eight, 64-56. But the game turned when Tenorio was subsequently called for an unsportsmanlike foul at the 6:16 mark. The Philippines would then fail to score until the 1:35 mark via a David conversion, to end an 11-0 run by the Chinese.
China answered back quick to keep the lead, 69-66. With Chan and David missing triples, the Philipipnes was forced to send China to the line to stop the clock. Fei Cao missed two freethrows with 31 seconds remaining, but LA Tenorio flubbed a triple at the other end. Gilas grabbed the rebound, but Chan still wasn't able to connect and force overtime, giving China the victory, 71-68.
The Philippines will try to rebound on Saturday against Lebanon, at 6pm. - AMD, GMA News
CHN 71 - A. Guo 18, T. Zhao 11, R. Sui 7, K. Wu 7, Zhelin Wang 6, Z. Sun 6, J. Duan 6, Y. Cao 4, D. Zhang 3, C. Yu 3, Zirui Wang 0, F. Cao 0
PHL 68 - De Ocampo 11, Douthit 10, Fonacier 10, Norwood 9, Dillinger 8, Tenorio 8, Fonacier 7, Chan 5, Reyes 0, Thoss 0, Villanueva 0
Quarter scoring: 18-15, 40-33, 54-57, 71-68