TAIPEI – One error after another in a crucial Gilas Pilipinas meltdown early in the fourth quarter enabled Team Canada 150 to make a crucial separation on the way to a 90-77 win on opening day of the 2017 Jones Cup at the Taipei Peace Basketball Hall here Saturday.
As young as they are, the Gilas cadets made a good stand only to flounder early in the fourth and allow the tall, tough Canadians side to breeze home.
Returning Gilas player Kiefer Ravena and his teammates left the floor with their heads held high, though.
Veterans of either the Canadian league, the NBA D-League or the Euro circuit, the Canadians, themselves, were impressed by the Gilas team composed mostly of PBA rookies.
“We’re very satisfied with our effort. I thought we came out, played hard and competed well,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes. “We knew coming in that we’re in for a tough battle. Just look at their credentials. They’re all bonafide Division I players with some European league veterans. But I like the effort put up by our guys.
“We shot and rebounded at par with them. We just gave away 40 free throws and they made 31. We took only 21 free throws and made only 14. That’s a big disparity,” Reyes pointed out.
Canadian coach Kyle Julius himself gave the Filipinos a thumbs up for their tough fight.
““I’ll be afraid to play your best players (PBA veterans),” he said.
“I’m aware that this team is here to develop and work for the future. But they’re talented, hard-nosed, disciplined and having the athleticism that makes them tough,” he added. “They’re very impressive with their different attributes.”
Ravena and Bobby Ray Parks, both prospective candidates in the next PBA rookie draft, paced the Filipinos with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Alaska rookie Carl Bryan Cruz was another Filipino who finished in double figures with 10 while Fil-German Christian Standhardinger and Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright contributed nine each.
The comebacking Mac Belo made one field goal basket – a trey – towards the end of the opening quarter, shoving Gilas ahead at 20-19 going into the next period.
The Nationals were still within striking distance at 60-68 before lapsing into successive errors and misses, enabling the Canadians to pull away at 77-60.
(Photo- Jones Cup)