HSINCHUANG CITY – Smart Gilas Pilipinas put up an unwavering performance facing the rugged game of the battle-scarred Townsville Crocs, fashioning out a 90-64 win in the third day of the 2010 William Jones Cup at the Hsinchuang Gymnasium here last night.
The Nationals picked up the pieces after their shattering loss to Iran Thursday, bouncing back with an emphatic win over the Aussies behind a solid team effort.
Dylan Ababou and Chris Lutz struck from afar, Marcus Douthit and Greg Slaughter pounded the paint while JV Casio and Marcius Lassiter scored heavily on transition plays as Smart Gilas beat the Aussies with plenty to spare.
After a 2-1 win-loss showing in the first three days of the tourney, the RP training team takes a welcome break today before returning to action against Chinese Taipei at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
The host team won its first two games by an average margin of 27 points, walloping Townsville, 103-55, Wednesday then clobbering the Taiwan U All Stars, 74-64, Thursday. Chinese Taipei was playing Lebanon at press time.
Iran also made it 2-0 as the World Championship-bound team upended Japan, 77-73, in a follow-up to its 81-68 drubbing of Smart Gilas Thursday.
Prodigious Iranian forward Nikah Bahrami, who averaged 16 points in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had another explosive game, torching the Japanese with a tournament-high 34 points.
For Smart Gilas, Douthit put in 17 points and 13 rebounds, Ababou went 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and finished with 17 points while Slaughter added 11 points and six rebounds.
The Nationals actually took some time to get their game going, trailing by nine, 12-21, before starting to hit their strides and catch up at 21-all late in the first period.
They fell behind for the last time at 32-34 before Ababou, Lutz and Rabah Al-Hussaini teamed up in an 11-to-nothing blitz, putting the team ahead to stay with seconds to go in the opening half.
Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman took responsibility for their slow start, saying it’s probably due to his decision to rest regular starters Chris Tiu and Mac Baracael.
“It’s far from our game. It was an easy win but I’m not satisfied. Against Iran, we lost but I was satisfied with our performance,” said Toroman.
“There’s no doubt we’re younger, more skilled and we play a better quality game than this Australian team,” Toroman said.
Toroman added it’s a must for the team to play better against the host tomorrow.
“It’s a crucial game and we have to be ready. They’re missing two big guys. They lack the size now and they will probably play zone defense against us,” he said.