SMART-Gilas drubs hosts for second win in Hongkong invitational

AKTV file photo/Pranz Kaeno Billones

AKTV file photo/Pranz Kaeno Billones

The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team clinched the top semis spot in Group B after drubbing Hong Kong, 85-58, for its second straight win in the 19th Super Keung Sheung Cup International Basketball Invitation Championship Wednesday at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wanchai, Hong Kong.

After a slow start, the Philippines outscored the hosts, 58-22, in the second and third quarters to come away with another lopsided victory for a 2-0 record in the group.

KG Canaleta fired a team-high 15 points and added eight rebounds, while cadet pool member Kevin Alas chipped in 14 points for the Philippine five.

Ronald Pascual also hit double figures in scoring with 10 points for SMART-Gilas, which moved into the final four with the victory.

Naturalized player Marcus Douthit played 22 minutes, contributing six points and 11 rebounds for the SMART-Gilas, which will take on Malaysia Thursday afternoon.

It was the first loss for Hong Kong, which beat the Malaysians at the start of the tournament, 87-53. Hong Kong needs to beat the winless Indonesia to seal the No. 2 spot in Group B.

After leading by just three points, 13-10, in the first quarter, SMART-Gilas outscored Hong Kong in the next stage, 24-9, to carry a 37-19 halftime lead.

There was no letup for the Filipinos in the third quarter as they exploded for 34 points against 13 for their rivals to take a commanding 71-32 spread entering the final period.

In Group A action, Changsa Park Lane Snow Wolves also assured itself of a semis berth with a 68-66 squeaker over Hong Kong Xinlibao for its second straight win.

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