Gary David hit back-to-back jumpers to lift Smart Gilas Pilipinas to an 82-79 win over KGC of Korea in their Jones Cup match up today in Taipei.
From a 77-all deadlock, David unloaded an off-the dribble jump shot from the right elbow to seize the lead for the nationals, 79-77 before the Koreans tied the count for the fifth time at 79-all with a drive to the basket. But the former Powerade hotshot was not going to be denied another off-the dribble shot, this time from the left side, to push Gilas II ahead 81-79, before Gabe Norwood converted one of two free throws. The Filipinos made two defensive stops in the end to seal the game.
It was the third straight victory for the Philippine squad in this 34th edition of the William Jones Cup after defeating Jordan and Chinese-Taipei Team B.
Naturalized player Marcus Douthit and Rain Or Shine gunner Jeff Chan led the team with 14 points apiece, while David and Meralco’s Sol Mercado added 13 and 11 markers respectively. KGC import Juan Pattillo led the Koreans with 14 points.
The newly-formed national team raced to a 37-23 lead with 5:37 left in the second period as Mercado, Talk ‘N Text’s Larry Fonacier and Chan ignited a 13-0 run with two straight triples and a three-point play. But the gritty professional team from South Korea unleashed an incredible 17-3 blast to even the count at 40-all with just 1:46 remaining in the half. Douthit converted on a drive to give Gilas the halftime advantage at 42-40.
In the second half, the Koreans’ hot shooting from behind the arc gave them a 61-49 edge at the 4:49 mark of the third canto, with Jung Hwi-ryang and Choi Hyun Min hitting three straight treys. KGC held on to the lead until the end of the third quarter, 71-65.
Then in the payoff period, Mercado used his quickness and superior dribbling skill to collect six points and lead an 11-6 surge to force another deadlock at 77-all. During this run, Alaska’s Sonny Thoss connected with a jumper, and David converted his lone triple before unleashing his end-game heroics.
Gilas II will play next play dangerous Japan on Wednesday at 5 p.m.