Gilas Pilipinas used their huge cushion built in the first three quarters to weather a fourth quarter storm sent by the Chinese Taipei nationals for a 90-77 victory earlier at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Philippine national team won their third game in as many outings to sweep the 1st MVP Cup as part of their preparation for the Olympic qualifier.
Calvin Abueva tallied 11 markers and grabbed six boards on 5-of-9 shooting. More than his statistical points, Abueva made key stops in the end to halt the run of the Taiwanese squad.
After shooting miserably in the first three quarters of their last match versus the Washington Saints yesterday, Gilas Pilipinas carried their torrid fourth quarter intensity into the opening canto of their battle with Chinese Taipei. The Filipinos hit four of their nine long bombs for an early opening quarter lead.
Andray Blatche, who struggled from the outside in their previous match started out the hot shooting of Gilas with back-to-back threes for an 8-3 lead. Chinese Taipei then blasted a six to nothing run. However, the home team did not look back from then on as they blasted a 19-3 run before both squads knot it up at 27-15 to end the first quarter.
Gilas Pilipinas continued their hot start onto the second quarter as they managed to push their lead to as much as 18 points behind 3-pointers of Blatche and reactivated reserve Gary David. A couple of three-point plays of the Taiwanese Nationals through a fast break trimmed the Gilas lead to 11 before a steady run by the Filipinos managed to have a 46-34 cushion before going into the dugout.
After plain exchanges in the third canto for a 14-point advantage coming to the final period, Gilas Pilipinas weathered a steady Taiwanese squad rally in the payoff canto to seal the game. Starting the final period with mini runs to push the lead to 20, Gilas Pilipinas was caught off guard by series of three-point bombs by the Taiwanese gunners trimmed the lead to eight, 83-75.
A 7-2 run by Gilas after head coach Tab Baldwin sued for time when Chinese Taipei made a huge 12-point swing pulled them away for the victory.
Gilas Pilipinas will carry their three-game sweep of the MVP Cup as their build up for the FIBA Asia Tournament which will start on September 23. The Philippine national team will then fly to Cebu for an exclusive training which will be their final push before flying to China for the Olympic qualifier.
Gilas Pilipinas (90) – Blatche 18, Taulava 13, Romeo 12, Abueva 11, Pingris 8, Hontiveros 7, Intal 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 6, De Ocampo 3, David 3, Thoss 2, Norwood 1
Chinese-Taipei (77) – Lu 23, Chen SN 11, Liu 10, Tien 9, Chen SC 8, Tsai 8, Chen SH 6, Davis 2, Wu 0, Hung 0
Quarters: 27-15, 46-34, 73-59, 90-77