Source : AKTV
|Japeth Aguilar with the "gigil" dunk|
Perhaps more importantly, SMART-Gilas coach Rajko Toroman was able to buy some rest for a couple of his key players on the eve of his team’s matchup with powerhouse South Korea on Wednesday.
Naturalized center Marcus Douthit and hotshot point guard Jayvee Casio sat out the game for the Philippines against the lowly Malaysia squad, which had been routed by South Korea, Jordan, and Chinese Taipei in each of its first three games.
But Toroman’s gambit seemed to backfire in the first half, as the Malaysians played with more energy while the Filipinos seemed to be playing down to the level of their opponents. Malaysia kept within striking distance of SMART-Gilas, which only led 16-13 after the first quarter and 37-34 at halftime.
Malaysia even managed to grab the lead, 38-37, after a layup by Ban Sin Ooi with 8:22 left in the third quarter.
That seemed to awaken the Philippines, which responded with a blistering 27-7 run for the rest of the period to take a 65-44 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But the rollercoaster ride wasn’t over for SMART-Gilas, which watched as Asi Taulava, who started at center for Douthit, get involved in a scary altercation toward the end of the third quarter.
The burly 6-foot-9 Taulava crumpled to the floor after apparently getting hit in the groin by Malaysia’s Yoong Jing Kwaan. After being sprawled on the floor for several seconds, Taulava got up and threw several haymakers at Yoong. The officials reviewed the previous play, and ejected both men from the floor.
Play resumed after heads cooled, and the fourth quarter was played without incident.
Mac Baracael and Chris Tiu, who handled the point guard spot alongside Mark Barroca in Casio’s absence, led a balanced SMART-Gilas attack with 14 points each. Japeth Aguilar and Marcio Lassiter chipped in 13 points apiece, while Chris Lutz added 12 points.
Malaysia was led by Li Wei Chee, who scored 15 points.
Up next for SMART-Gilas is am impressive South Korea squad, which sees action versus Jordan on Tuesday. Like SMART-Gilas, the Koreans also own a victory over defending champion Iran in the Jones Cup.