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Gilas zaps Taiwanese

GILAS Pilipinas mainstay Gabe Norwood (5) attempts a layup against Japanese Daiki Tanaka during the Nationals’ away game against Japan Friday in Tokyo. Gilas won, 77-71. (FIBA Photo)
GILAS Pilipinas mainstay Gabe Norwood (5) attempts a layup against Japanese Daiki Tanaka during the Nationals’ away game against Japan Friday in Tokyo. Gilas won, 77-71. (FIBA Photo)

By Jonas Terrado

Game Monday
(Philippine Arena, Bocaue)
7:30 p.m. – Philippines vs Australia

TAIPEI – Gilas Pilipinas overcame the early onslaught of Taiwan and produced a 93-71 victory to forge a tie for the Group B lead with Australia last night in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Taipei Heping Basketball Gym here.

A strong defensive effort in the second quarter anchored on Gabe Norwood allowed Gilas to seize control after trailing 12-4 at the start and 30-21 at one point on its way to its biggest margin of victory in the first round of the qualifiers.

Norwood showcased his knack for playing defense by making five steals while adding eight points to backstop the offensive productions of June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro and naturalized player Andray Blatche.

Fajardo scored 22 points, Castro had 15 points, Romeo produced 14 points and six assists in his national team return and Blatche added 13 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three steals as Gilas tied Australia for top spot in the group with identical 4-1 slates.

“We knew that they’re gonna come in with their best at the start of the game, we just had to be patient and not stray away from our gameplan,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes. “When our second unit came – June Mar, Terrence and (Roger) Pogoy, I think that turned the momentum of the game into our favor.”

Australia, which Gilas will face on Monday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan, suffered a stunning 79-78 loss to Japan minutes before Gilas’ mastery of the Taiwanese side.

Japan claimed its first win of the first round to tie Taiwan for third at 1-4, turning their match on Monday in this city into a virtual knockout match for the third and final spot in the second round.

Naturalized player Quincy Davis had 17 points and seven rebounds and veteran Cheng-Ju Lu hit 13 points spiked by four triples for Taiwan.

Taiwan hit seven of its first 13 threes to take its biggest lead at 30-21 in the second, but Gilas went on a rampage forcing the host squad to turnovers to claim a 44-37 lead at the break.

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Written by Tempo Online

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