Smart Gilas Pilipinas advances to Wuhan
JAKARTA – Chris Lutz scored 20 points and Japeth Aguilar added 19 as Smart Gilas Pilipinas coasted to an easy 94-54 victory over Indonesia in the 9th Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship at the BritAma Arena here.
The Nationals sent the hosts in foul trouble early, seizing a 20-9 lead built on 12 free throws and Marcus Douthit's incursions before exploiting the open court for a 27-point halftime bubble that never got threatened the rest of the way.
“We stopped their penetrations while attacking the basket aggressively on the other end,'' said Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman.
With the win, the Filipinos, who downed the Malaysians on Thursday, are guaranteed of a seat in the Fiba Asia Championship in Wuhan, China on Sept. 15-25, the qualifier for the 2012 London Olympics.
Malaysia and Indonesia, which split their first two matches, are hoping to book the two other available tickets to Wuhan in this four-nation meet.
But a Philippine victory over Singapore (0-2) at the end of the elimination round still being played at presstime will assure Malaysia and Indonesia of representing the region in the Asian championship along with Smart Gilas.
“We struggled and had a slow start the other night because we lacked practice time. Today, we played a great game,'' said Toroman.
Smart Gilas went 30 of 54 (56 percent) from the field, converted 30 of 42 freethrows and moved the ball exceptionally well with 17 assists.
The only flaw in the Filipinos' performance was the 26 offensive rebounds they allowed as the Indons crashed the boards, 40-38, despite the mismatch in height. Nevertheless, Aguilar put on a show that endeared him to a clique of Filipino fans behind the Smart Gilas bench and the Indonesian crowd as well.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar dunked the ball with flair five times, including two alley-oop throwdowns in traffic to the delight of the entire arena.
“They have the homecourt advantage so we can't take them for granted. We just focused on stuff that we have to do,'' said Aguilar.
Douthit scored seven of his 11 points in the opening quarter, Dylan Ababou had 13 points and accounted for five of the team's nine steals while JV Casio added eight points and seven assists.
Smart Gilas made it 71-38 after the third and erected the largest lead of the night, 94-48, on a Mac Baracael feed to a soaring Aguilar for another rim-rattler that netted a three-point play.
SMART GILAS PILIPINAS 94 – Lutz 20, Aguilar 19, Ababou 13, Douthit 11, Casio 8, Baracael 7, Barroca 6, Tiu 6, Ballesteros 4.
INDONESIA 54 – Poedjakesuma 10, Prawiro 8, Thoyib 8, Indrawan 6, Prihantono 5, Wuysang 5, Situmorang 4, Aryo 2, Ahmad 2, Gunawan 2, Setepu 2, Chandra 0.
Quarters: 20-9, 49-22, 71-38, 94-54