Friday, September 23, 2011

Smart Gilas Pilipinas: Philippines a 24-year SemiFinal Drought!

Wuhan, China : Philippines gave millions of fans back home a lot to cheer by making the semifinals of the FIBA Asia Championship for the first time in 24 years with a comeback 95-78 win against Chinese Taipei on Friday.

In Saturday’s semifinal, Philippines will take on Jordan who stunned defending champions Iran in an earlier quarterfinal.

For the record, Philippines had beaten Jordan 72-64 when the two met in a Group F Second Round game in this competition earlier.

Naturalized center Marcus Douthit once again had game-highs on either end of the floor, but it was JV Casio who sparked the Filipino rally tonight which put them in the semifinals for the 12th time in FIBA Asia Championship – but only the first time since the 1987 edition at Bangkok, where the team finished fourth.

Casio scored all his 8 points for the game in the second quarter leading an all-round Filipino offense to put them ahead.

Further, a 10-0 run – marked by Douthit’s clever three-point play early in the third quarter – put Philippines comfortably in lead and in control of the proceedings.

There was a minor counter offensive by Taipei, but with veteran Tseng Wen-Ting fouled out, the rally was too little coming too late.

“It’s a fantastic feeling,” gushed Philippines coach Rajko Toroman.

“This (the win) shows this team has the ability to make history. Philippines team is in the semifinals after such a long time. I think we have the ability to go all the way,” he said.

“I think we didn’t control the rebounds well in the first quarter,” said Douthit who poured in a massive 37 points and collected 10 rebounds.

“We didn’t control their shooters. We gave them too many second chance points,” he added.

“It’s a dream moment. Playing for the National Team and making the semifinals of this competition is a dream come true,” said Ranidel De Ocampo who scored 18 points and collected 5 rebounds besides dishing out 3 assists.

“We were outplayed by a better team. There’s no doubt in that,” said Taipei coach Chou Chuan-San.

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