Gilas Pilipinas built a huge lead early before holding down the fort with crucial baskets down the stretch to edge host squad Chinese Taipei, 77-69 in the 37th William Jones Cup Sunday at the Xinchuang Gymnasium.
The Philippines blew a double-digit advantage and entered the fourth quarter with the score tied at 54, before it launched a 7-0 blast behind Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva to regain control, 61-54.
A triple by Tien Lei and free throws by Quincy Davis cut the deficit down to just 61-59, before a triple by Abueva made it 64-59.
Davis then hit a basket later on, followed by a Lin Chih Chieh one-hander and a Jayson Castro drive, making it 68-65.
Taipei struggled from long range after that point, even as Romeo nailed a crucial shot clock buzzer-beating three, before Castro added a floater to make it 73-65 with under two minutes left.
A Gilas steal then led to a breakaway for Castro that made the lead 77-67 under the final minute and sealed the win for the nationals.
Romeo fired a game-high 18 points and added 4 steals while Castro chipped in 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.
Abueva contributed 15 points while Asi Taulava and Moala Tautuaa combined for 17 rebounds to provide support underneath.
Gilas led by as much as 47-28 in the second quarter as the team outscored the host nation 21-11.
Romeo and Abueva combined for 20 points in the first half alone, fueling a sparkling run for Gilas although turnovers hurt the team in the the third to tie the count.
Gilas then recovered and showed much-needed composure to preserve the win.
The team shot 8-for-22 from three-point area and 50 percent overall, a stark contrast from Taipei which struggled from downtown fter shooting 7-for-24.
The Philippines battles Korea tomorrow.
Philippines (77) – Castro 16, Romeo 15, Abueva 15, Hontiveros 9, Norwood 7, Pingris 4, Tautuaa 4, Ganuelas-Rosser 3, Thoss 2, David 2, Taulava 0
Republic of China-A (69) – Davis 12, Chen SN 12, Tseng 11, Tien 11, Liu 9, Tsai 8, Lin 5, Chang 1, Lu 0, Hung 0, Wu 0, Chen SC 0
Quarters: 26-20, 47-31, 54-54, 77-69.
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