Marcus Douthit did his work early in the game, and the SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team rode their naturalized center to a surprisingly easy win over home team Chinese Taipei, 90-78, at the 2011 Jones Cup.
Douthit put his primary defender, Tseng Wen-Ting, in early foul trouble as he scored 11 of his game-high 23 points in the opening quarter. Opening day winners over Japan, the very game Chinese Taipei team looked competitive early on, trailing by just four behind seven first quarter points from star guard Lin Chih-Chieh.
But a big second quarter from Japeth Aguilar, who scored eight of his 12 points in the period, and a buzzer-beating circus shot from Dondon Hontiveros pushed the Philippines to a 49-36 halftime lead.
SMART-Gilas would then weather a late third quarter run after which Chinese Taipei came as close as just seven points. But the Filipinos would finish the quarter strong with an 8-1 run that ended in another buzzer beater, this time a turnaround Marcio Lassiter three-pointer.
The Philippine team essentially put the game away by starting the fourth quarter with five straight points to extend the lead back to 19.
Chinese Taipei drew a solid game from the foul-plagued Tseng, who finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Chen Hsin-An scored 16 for the home team but Taiwanese-American Doug Creighton, who led Taipei with 18 points in their blowout win over Japan, played just a handful of minutes in the first half, when he was held largely ineffective.
Douthit and Aguilar received plenty of support from their teammates, with six other Filipinos scoring eight or more points, several on transition buckets and long threes.
The game had its chippy moments, with guard JVee Casio being the recipient of an unsportsmanlike foul from Su I-Chieh midway through the fourth. Douthit was also earlier hit by a technical foul for complaining a call in the first, while Aguilar was warned for several goaltending violations including one on a free throw that was about to drop in.
But the scoreboard ended up looking much closer than the game actually was. SMART-Gilas was comfortably ahead 88-71 with just a 1:06 remaining before the defense loosened up and allowed back-to-back threes and a free throw. Chris Lutz scored on a reverse layup to complete final score.
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