The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team lost its final assignment, 76-63, against Qatar to settle for fourth place in the FIBA Asia Cup Saturday in Tokyo, Japan.
The Philippine side shot a miserable 2-of-18 (11 percent) from beyond the arc and 38 percent overall as it couldn’t sustain a second half comeback run.
SMART-Gilas was still in striking distance, 61-54, midway through the fourth quarter when Qatar unleashed hit four three-pointers in a 12-2 run to seal the game.
Marcus Douthit once again led the charge for the Philippines with 17 points and nine rebounds despite injuring his ankle in the first half. Gary David, Jared Dillinger, and Gabe Norwood added 15, 12, and 10 points respectively.
But SMART-Gilas shooters Jeff Chan and Larry Fonacier were missing in action. Chan was scoreless after missing all six of his shots, while Fonacier managed just three points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Compounding the Philippines’ misery was Qatar’s size advantage, leading to a 47-31 edge in rebounding.
SMART-Gilas got off to a quick start in the game, grabbing an 8-2 lead early after Norwood scored on back-to-back opportunities in transition.
But the team went scoreless over the next six minutes of the period, allowing Qatar to come back and take a 12-8 lead by the end of the first.
Yousuf Mohmmed opened the second quarter with a three-pointer, the first of four in the game, as the Qataris took a seven-point advantage.
Douthit then took over, scoring seven of his 17 points in the quarter, as the Filipinos came back to within two points, 24-22, with 4:13 remaining. But the naturalized center had a scary moment late in the quarter, landing badly on his ankle on a rebound play and limping off the court with the help of teammates.
With Douthit off the floor, Qatar closed the half with a 7-2 run to take a 35-26 lead at the break.
The naturalized big man returned in the second half to score the first basket of the period. With David starting to hit and Douthit continuing to be productive despite the injury, the Philippines outscored Qatar 22-20 in the third quarter to stay within striking distance, 55-48, entering the final period.
David and Dillinger kept SMART-Gilas in the game in the fourth quarter, but the breaks of the game seemed to be squarely in Qatar’s corner, exemplified by a crucial possession in the quarter where Mohmmed banked in a difficult three-pointer with the shot clock running out that gave them a 64-54 lead, with 5:41 remaining.
David answered with a basket and Norwood followed it up with a big defensive play as the Filipinos looked primed to make one more run. But Chan couldn’t score on their next possession and Khalid Abdi knocked down a three from the left corner as Qatar extended its lead.
Daoud Musa Daoud then hit a three from almost the same spot, and Abdi added another from the opposite corner as Qatar blew the game wide open, taking a 73-56 lead to effectively seal it with just three minutes left on the clock.
David hit a three of his own but Qatar’s Trey Johnson responded with a three-point play. Dillinger scored a pair of buckets but Abdi closed it with another three, Qatar’s ninth make compared to just two for the Philippines, to close the game.
Mohmmed led Qatar with 17 points while Johnson added 16.
The loss put SMART-Gilas out of the running for a top-three finish and the automatic berth to next year’s FIBA Asia Championships in Lebanon that comes with it.
Qatar (79) – Mohmmed 17, Johnson 16, Abdi 14, Saeed 10, Daoud 7, Salem 5, El-Hadary 4, Mohammed 4, Ali 2.
SMART-Gilas Pilipinas (63) – Douthit 17, David 15, Dillinger 12, Norwood 10, De Ocampo 3, Fonacier 3, Tenorio 2, Chan 0, Thoss 0, Villanueva 0.
Quarterscores: 12-8, 35-26, 55-48, 79-63.