PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE — TAIPEI—San Miguel-Team Pilipinas reserved its best game so far for more than 3,000 wildly cheering Filipino fans as it clobbered host Chinese Taipei, 82-64, in the 29th William Jones Cup basketball tournament last night at the Hsinchuang Stadium here.
“It’s a satisfying win for us because we couldn’t beat Taiwan. If memory serves me correct, the last time we did so was in 1998, when I was assistant coach of the Centennial Team,” said national coach Chot Reyes.
The Filipinos used a solid, third-quarter assault to tear the game wide open and break the hearts of the Taiwanese fans, who also came in full force.
From a 40-29 half-time advantage, the Filipinos traded baskets with the Taiwanese for six minutes before lowering the boom in the form of an 11-2 binge to storm ahead by 20 points for the first time, 61-41, 1:25 left in the third.
The Filipinos maintained that 20-point bubble, 65-45, on back-to-back baskets by Kerby Raymundo and James Yap opening the final quarter.
Lin Chin Chieh caused a mild scare as he pumped in three successive triples as Taipei closed in 65-54.
But while the Taiwanese got their shots going from the outside, Jimmy Alapag penetrated their defense and scored on back-to-back lay-ups to end the rally.
“The atmosphere of the game is incredible. We just fed off the energy of the Filipino fans,” said Alapag.
Reyes concurred and added: “In the past, I think the ratio of fans was 97.5 percent Taiwanese and 2.5 percent Filipinos. Tonight, it was about 80-20. And I would like to thank them for that.”
Reyes also said that the Philippines is on track for its goal in Tokushima, Japan late this month.
“The Jones Cup is really a preparatory tournament for us. Hinati namin ang tournament in phases of three games each. The first phase was to see how we can get together and play everybody. Makikita iyan sa distribution ng minutes. The second phase, nandoon ang Jordan at Iran, and that was the discovery phase. The third phase is what we call ‘pandiin na’ because of the previous history wherein we have a hard time against Taiwan, Qatar and Kazakhstan in the past,” explained Reyes.
Mark Caguioa almost single-handedly engaged the Taiwanese in a shootout in the first quarter, banging in 12 points, including a pair of triples to give San Miguel-Team Pilipinas a 20-16 advantage.