Gilas Wins Over Japan, 81-70, Books Ticket To Finals!

Photo courtesy of FIBA.com
Gilas set their date with destiny tomorrow, as they outlasted Team Japan 81-70, and booked a seat opposite host China for the right to call themselves the best team in Asia as well as the lone ticket to the Rio Olympics.
Japan gave us a hard time once again, sticking with us until the end of the third quarter, when the score was still tied 54-all. It took the sniping of veterans Dondon Hontiveros, Ranidel de Ocampo and the stellar overall play of Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche for Gilas to finally put the game out of reach.
Here are the four difference makers for Gilas in their victory over Japan:

Defense on Makoto Hiejima – Hiejima was a revelation in this game, scoring 22 points in the first half alone. That’s an amazing feat, considering Hiejima was averaging 14 points per game. Then, in the second half, Dondon Hontiveros, Gabe Norwood, and Calvin Abueva took turns making Hiejima sweat blood for his points.  All that running around to get free from those three finally took its toll on Hiejima, who scored just 6 points in the second half and, in one sequence, couldn’t get back into Japan’s own half of the court, forcing one of his teammates to fould Castro just to avoid a 5-on-4 situation. On a side note, Norwood also turned in some brilliant defense in the last minute, getting 2 late steals to seal the game.
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DonDon Hontiveros Saves the day for Pinas 18 points 6/9 3 points

When the going gets tough, we relied to the Cebuano Hotshot Don Don Hontiveros to help us win against Japan in the Semi-fnals war between Japan and Philippines.
Hontiveros scored 18 points 6-9 all by 3 pointers and he delivered when it mattered the most, He was able to make the 3 point basket that gave us the cushion and pump the score up to 77-68 with 1:20 seconds remaining. Japan then called time out and from then on it was just an exchange of basket to the last second Gilas Pilipinas won over Japan 81-70.
Japan was headed by Heijima with 28 monster points and Takeuchi howled 16 rebounds but it was just them who made the fight closer. Blatche gave us another double double leading the team with points and rebounds with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Castro delivered crucial baskets as well for us to keep the lead with 20 pts and dished out 7 assists and followed up by the stellar shooting of Hontiveros who for me is the best player if this game.
Gilas will go up against China winner will qualify to 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil.
Written by:
Aldrin C.
Team Powcast

Gilas Wins Over Japan But At What Cost?

Gilas Wins Over Japan But At What Cost?

Was the Gilas vs Japan game important? Of course it was.

But was it a must-win game? As far as second round games, maybe it was. But then again, losing that game would have merely meant a harder road to the finals, but not elimination from the tournament.
Those come later, when we move into the knockout stages. Will we then regret playing Andray Blatche in the third and fourth quarter of this game, rather than letting him rest his ankle so he can recover for the remaining games ahead?
Which also begs this question: do we tempt the fates tomorrow and play a limping Blatche against a physically superior, highly killed team like Iran…or do we play it safe, sit Blatche down, and accept the looming defeat to Iran?  A loss to Iran wouldn’t be devastating either, as it’s say to say that they’ll beat Palestine and if we beat India (which we should do), we’ll still be in prime position to cop second place in our group.

Personally, I would rather that Blatche did not come back to play in the Japan game. Sure, it was nip and tuck but the boys were battling back, not letting Japan take over the lead, and I have a feeling they would have closed out Japan anyway. I do understand the logic of putting Blatche back, as a guarantee, but still, I felt that the quality of our Gilas players was more than enough to win over the Japanese.
As for tomorrow, if Andray Blatche is around 80%-90% in good physical condition, I’d have no problems with him playing. But if he’s going to be limping up and down the court, jumping on one foot and getting blocked by guys 2-3 inches short because he can’t plant his foot to jump, then I’d prefer he rest his foot.
We can take the loss now, have Andray back to better foot health and be in a better position to beat China or South Korea in the semifinals and get another shot at the Iranians. This time though, it will be with something more meaningful on the line: that ticket to Rio.
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