Gary David came through with big shots down the stretch as the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team downed a tough South Korean side, 82-79, to stay unbeaten in the 34th William Jones Cup in Taiwan.
The Philippines picked up their third win in as many games to keep up with early leaders Iran and the USA, which sport identical 3-0 records.
In a game dominated by runs from both teams, it was the Philippine side that made the one that mattered, punctuated by a pair of jumpers from the sweet-shooting David in the last two minutes that staved off any attempt at a comeback from the South Koreans.
SMART-Gilas started the game strong, opening up a 22-13 lead late in the first quarter. But the Koreans responded with an 10-2 run to cut the Philippines’ lead back down to a solitary point, 24-23, with 8:15 remaining in the second.
Shooters Larry Fonacier and Jeff Chan then hit back-to-back triples to spark a 13-0 run over the next two and a half minutes to make it 37-23 for the Filipinos. South Korea’s import Juan Patillo took charge at that point, scoring 13 of the team’s total in a 17-3 run that tied the game at 40-apiece late in the first half. Marcus Douthit scored to give the Philippines a two-point lead at the break.
In the third period, the South Koreans turned on the outside shooting, hitting three straight three-pointers to cap off another 17-3 run that gave them a 61-49 lead over SMART-Gilas midway through the period.
PBA teammates Norwood and Chan then scored all of a 12-4 run for the Filipinos that got them back within four points.
The fourth quarter, though, belonged to David. He opened it with five straight points that got SMART-Gilas to within one, 70-71. And with the game tied at 77-apiece with under two minutes remaining, it was David who hit the big shots to put the Philippines over the top.
David first nailed a jumper curling off of a Norwood handoff that made in 79-77 with 1:24 remaining. After the South Koreans answered with a basket to tie the game again at 79, David pulled up for another big shot that gave the Filipinos an 81-79 lead with just 45 seconds to play.
South Korea failed to score on the ensuing possession and the Philippines sealed it with a free throw from Gabe Norwood that set the final margin of the game.
David led the team with 15 points while Norwood had a solid all-around performance with 10 points and some terrific defense, including a pair of highlight-reel blocks in the second half.
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