Coming off a stinging loss to South Korea about 12 hours ago, Gilas Pilipinas got back on track as they escaped Iraq, 84-75, in the 39th William Jones Cup, Thursday night at the Taipei Heping Basketball Gymnasium in Taiwan.
The victory improves the Philippines’ record to 4-2 and are now tied with Korea, while Iraq dropped to an even 3-3 slate.
“We knew we’re gonna be in for a tough night,” said Gilas head coach Chot Reyes. “We came in to this game to do things — number one, to rebound. And secondly, it was a change of approach, because East Asian teams play different [from Iraq].
“I thought we were able to do both well,” Reyes furthered.
All Gilas players had a hand in the victory, with Mike Myers leading the attack with 16 points and 18 rebounds. Kiefer Ravena had 13 points with six assists, while Roger Pogoy made 12 markers spiked by two treys.
The Filipinos were enjoying an 18-point advantage, 69-51, with 7:42 in the payoff period, but blew it up late as the Iraqis surged back and closed within six, 79-73, after a Hassan Abdullah triple from the wing with 1:10 left.
Iraq’s comeback hopes though went out the window seconds later. Ravena was sent to the foul line three times, and converted five of his six charities to widen the gap and secure the bounce-back victory.
Carl Cruz and Jio Jalalon each chipped in 10 markers for the Philippines.
Gilas had a slow first frame, 15-19, but jived in on both ends of the floor in the next period as they limited Iraq to just three points while they exploded for 21, highlighted by a Kobe Paras slam, to take control, 36-22, at the half.
Demario Mayfield anchored the Iraqis with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-27 shooting alongside four rebounds, four dimes, and six steals. Dhulfiqar Al-hchaimi backed him up with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds.
As what Reyes pointed out, Gilas did extremely well on rebounds, 43-28. Furthermore, the Filipinos knocked down seven of their 21 triples, and converted 20 of their 38 two-pointers. However, they committed 16 turnovers.
Gilas will try to collect another win against Lithuania tomorrow, Friday, July 21, at 3:00 PM.
Gilas Pilipinas (84) – Myers 16, Ravena 13, Pogoy 12, Cruz 10, Jalalon 10, Wright 8, Jose 4, Standhardinger 4, Ferrer 3, Paras 2, Parks 2.
Iraq (75) – Mayfield 29, Al-Hchaimi 17, Abdullah 8, Khajehzadeh 7, Ismael 4, Hameed 4, Aljuboori 3, Alazawi 3, Talib 0, Hamzah 0, Al-tameemi 0.
Quarterscores: 15-19, 36-22, 64-49, 84-75.