By Ronnie Nathanielsz /

The Philippines began its quest for redemption in their opening game in the battle to top the consolation round of the FIBA Asia Men’s Basketball Championship in Tokushima with a hard-fought overtime victory over a tough Syrian team which the Filipinos had earlier beaten in the four-nation Manila Invitational recently.

Point guard Jimmy Alapag who has carried the nationals on his tiny frame with unbelievable gallantry and an injured Asi Taulava who played through the pain helped jumpstart the road to salvage some pride after their desperate bid to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics fell apart. The heartbreaking loss to Iran and a fourth quarter collapse that saw the nationals lose to Jordan, winners of the recent Jones Cup, ended the dream but the team refused to give up and engaged the much taller and bigger Syrians in a shootout in Tokushima.

Alapag who led the nationals in scoring with 32 big points got some solid support from big man Taulava who looks small when ranged against the giants of the other teams, put together 15 points and 17 rebounds for a double-double while Danny Seigle who is recovering from an ankle injury played his best game so far to add 15.

But the consolation win was not without its troubles as Mark Caguioa who scored 15 points was pulled out with a hyper-extended shoulder with 2:28 left in regulation and the nationals trailing 84-86. Kelly Williams also had to be benched after seeing action for a mere seven minutes because of a hamstring injury.

It was small consolation for the RP team and the coaching staff led by Chot Reyes when the Syrian coach Samer Jayaly said “your team deserves to be in the final four” which was a follow up to the Jordanian coach’s blasting of the format as “ridiculous” saying “The Group of Death” which bracketed China, Jordan, Iran and the Philippines together deprived two of the four top teams of advancing while favoring several weaker teams.

Reyes said the Syrian game was the “kind of games that are tough to play. I don’t think we are emotionally ready to play this game after the loss. I doubt if our players had much sleep last night. I told the players we signed up to take in the whole experience, both pleasant and unpleasant. Obviously this is the unpleasant part but part of the representation of our national team is to go through it all the way.”

The nationals trailed early because of erratic play in the first half but quickly found their rhythm in the second half to battle the Syrians all the way. With 32 seconds remaining in regulation Alapag scored on a driving layup but the Syrians tied the game on split free throws by Michael Madanly on a foul by Kerby Raymundo with 14 seconds to play and when Dondon Hontiveros missed on a setup triple the game went into overtime. But the Filipinos behind five straight points by Seigle and a crisp 10-0 run ably anchored by Alapag settled the issue and somewhat eased the pain of the nationals.
Next Post »

1 Responses:

Click here for Responses
Monday, December 03, 2007 11:01:00 AM ×


Congrats bro mogul you got PERTAMAX...! hehehehe...