Gilas falls in opener
Game Today 7:30 p.m. – Philippines vs Taiwan-A
TAIPEI – The journey of the new-look Gilas Pilipinas began with a stinging 90-77 loss to Canada at the start of the William Jones Cup yesterday at the Taipei Peace Basketball Gymnasium here.
The national team, a mixture of PBA rookies and collegiate stalwarts, played hard and sharp but lack of coherence spelled the difference.
Backed by Chooks-To-Go, Gilas fell behind by 13 points a few times in the third period and in the early part of the fourth frame as Canada dictated the flow of the match by using their guile and height.
Through the sniping of Filipino-Canadian Matthew Wright, Gilas pulled within 68-60 with 8:50 left.
Wright had another opportunity to further cut the Canada’s lead but he missed a pull up threepoint shot off a fast break play, and the Canadian’s took advantage of the situation.
A 7-0 run capped by a twohanded slam dunk by 6-foot-10 center Michale Kyser from a lob pass by Joey Haywood gave the Canadians a comfortable 75-60 lead with six minutes to play.
Garrett Williamson led Canada with 15 points, while Haywood, Kyser and Deigo Kapelan each scored 12 points.
Former college standout Kiefer Ravena came off the bench to lead the Nationals with 12 points, Bobby Ray Parks Jr. added 11 points, and Alaska’s Carl Bryan Cruz added 10 points.
RAVENA READY TO TURN PRO
Meantime, Kiefer Ravena is close to making a decision to join the coming PBA Rookie Draft.
He told Spin.Ph that joining the next PBA rookie draft could just be a mere formality.
“As far as I’m concerned, the only thing left to be done is pass my application form for the (PBA) draft,” said Ravena. “There are just some people who would need to know of my decision.”
The Philippines – represented by Mighty Sports – won the title last year via an 8-game sweep.
Today will be another big test for Gilas as it faces Taiwan Team A at 7:30 p.m. and on Monday it will tackle Taiwan Team B at 3 p.m. before facing Japan on Tuesday and Korea on Wednesday.
Gilas will have no rest day as it tackles the taller and beefier Iraq on Thursday, Lithuania on Friday, the vastly-improving India on Saturday and bitter rival Iran on Sunday.