The SMART-Gilas Pilipinas national team used a furious fourth quarter run to turn back Chinese Taipei, 75-68, in the quarterfinals of the FIBA Asia Cup Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.
Holding a slim 54-53 edge entering the final period, the Philippines opened with a 17-4 assault capped by a corner three-pointer by Gary David to take a 71-57 lead with 3:51 left in the game.
Chinese Taipei got its bearings back, scoring nine straight points to stay within striking distance, 71-66, with 1:52 left. But the Taiwanese could not come any closer against the tough Philippine defense, scoring just two points the rest of the way. Two free throws by LA Tenorio and a layup up by Jeff Chan sealed the game for the Philippines.
Naturalized center Marcus Douthit carried the fight for SMART-Gilas, posting 19 points and 18 rebounds. But he got ample support from Philippine shooters led by David, who scored 14 points on four three-pointers, and Tenorio, who scored all nine of his points in the fourth quarter.
Chinese Taipei started strong, outscoring Gilas 13-10 in the opening period.
But the Filipinos turned things around in the second with David and Larry Fonacier knocking down three-pointers and Douthit scoring inside, SMART-Gilas outscored Chinese Taipei 29-18 to take a six-point lead, 38-32, at the halftime break, despite a huge quarter from Taiwanese-American Douglas Creighton, who scored 11 points, including three shots from long range.
Creighton stayed hot in the third, knocking down three more three-pointers as Chinese Taipei stormed back to take the lead, 53-52, at the 1:17 mark of the period. But Ranidel De Ocampo scored on a putback with two seconds left to reclaim the advantage heading into the crucial fourth quarter.
Tenorio opened the fourth with a big three-pointer and a quick counter after De Ocampo got a big block on Tien Lei. Douthit then scored in the paint after a nice find from Fonacier.
Tien scored on a strong drive for Chinese Taipei, but De Ocampo responded with two points in the paint, then found Chan, who had been scoreless until that point, on the next play for a huge three-pointer. After an exchange of baskets, David knocked down another three for a comfortable 14-point lead, 71-57.
But SMART-Gilas went scoreless in the next three and a half minutes as Chinese Taipei chipped away at the lead, until Tenorio and Chan broke the drought late in the game.
Creighton led the charge for Chinese Taipei with 21 points on six three-pointers, but SMART-Gilas held the Taiwanese-American swingman to just a single point in the fourth quarter.
SMART-Gilas moves into the semifinals on Friday against powerhouse Iran, which dispatched Uzbekistan, 79-37, earlier in the day. Iran, which is the last undefeated team in the tournament, will be trying to avenge its 77-75 loss to SMART-Gilas in the 34th William Jones Cup last month.
SMART-Gilas Pilipinas (75) – Douthit 19, David 14, De Ocampo 10, Fonacier 9, Tenorio 9, Chan 5, Dillinger 5, Norwood 4, Thoss 0.
Chinese Taipei (68) – Creighton 21, Lin 12, Chen 11, Tien 7, Wu 6, Mao 4, Chang 3, Lee 3, Tseng 1, Lu 0.
Quarters: 10-13, 38-32, 54-53, 75-68.