February 27, 2011

Smart Gilas quintet downs rusty Texters

MANILA—Smart Gilas caught Philippine Cup champion Talk ‘N Text napping in the stretch and pulled off a come-from-behind 103-98 win last night at the start of the national team’s campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Trailing by eight points three minutes into the fourth, the national five went on a scoring spree while the Tropang
Texters, still trying to get back into shape after breaking up to celebrate their championship in the previous conference, simply floundered down the stretch.

Aldrech Ramos scored on a couple of long-range jumpers and Marcio Lassiter mocked TNT’s defense with bold incursions before JV Casio’s free throws boosted Smart Gilas ahead, 95-94, with less than three minutes remaining.

A Mark Barroca feed to a streaking Douthit made it 99-94 for the Nationals.

“They (Tropang Texters) were not in good shape,” said Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman. “On the other hand, we played good in tuneup games before the conference and that gave us the confidence to win against the defending champions.”

TNT, which downed San Miguel in six games during the PH Cup title playoffs, only started practicing last week.

Jason Castro made two free throws to end TNT’s three-minute dry spell but the Tropang Texters flubbed several chances  down the stretch.

Skipper Chris Tiu sealed the win with four straight free throws that sandwiched a Paul Harris’ alley-oop dunk.
Seven Smart Gilas players finished in double figures with Marcio Lassiter and Douthit delivering 16 points each.

The 6-foot-10 Douthit also grabbed 26 rebounds, tying Sta. Lucia’s Lee Benson record during the 2008 Fiesta Cup.

Mac Baracael shot 12 points but missed the entire fourth quarter after hurting his left hand in the third.

“It feels good to be back in the PBA,” said Tiu. “This is a chance for us to be seen by Filipinos since we play mostly overseas.”

Josh Urbiztondo registered a career-high 31 points highlighted by a long three-pointer with 29 seconds left and Air21 escaped with a 92-87 win over San Miguel Beer in the other game.

Urbiztondo went seven of eight from the arc as the Express finally broke a string of eight straight losses to the Beermen since 2009.

The scores:
First Game
SMART GILAS 103—Lassiter 16, Douthit 16, Tiu 15, Ramos 15, Casio 14, Barroca 13, Barracael 12, Lutz 2, Ballesteros 0, Slaughter 0, Ababou 0.
TALK N’ TEXT 98—Harris 25, De Ocampo 18, Williams 14, Castro 13, Fonacier 10, Carey 6, Alapag 6, Peek 6, Dillinger 0, Reyes 0.
Quarters: 28-25, 50-51, 78-80, 103-98

Second Game
AIR 21 92—Urbiztondo 31, Robinson 14, Al-Hussaini 14, Reyes 11, Avenido 9, Baclao 4, Juntilla 4, Gonzales 3, Najorda 2, Arboleda 0.
SAN MIGUEL 87—Brown 30, Washington 15, Santos 11, Cabagnot 7, Yeo 6, Salvacion 5, Miranda 4, Ildefonso 4, Pena 3, Hontiveros 2, Artadi 0.
Quarters: 20-18, 50-40, 70-67, 92-87

Source: Inquirer.net


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