MANILA, Philippines—Smart Gilas Pilipinas showed no distraction amid eligibility issues surrounding vital cogs Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz as it pulled off a 72-64 stunner over Jordan Monday in the 2011 Fiba Asia championships in Wuhan, China.
The Nationals stirred the match in their favor in the second half, and held steady down the stretch— missing just one of its last eight attempts from the line—en route to their first victory in the second round of the competition.
Naturalized center Marcus Douthit put on a behemoth effort, despite a suffering a mild left-ankle sprain in the third period, as he scored 19 points and snared 15 rebounds.
Despite getting the go signal to play by Fiba’s general secretary Patrick Baumann also Monday, miscommunication with Fiba Asia nearly kept Lassiter and Lutz from playing their maiden game.
But the kinks were ironed out in time as both of the players were able to suit up, even as the 24-year-old Lassiter provided much-needed spark of the Nationals with 14 points.
Gilas, which plays Japan Tuesday, was clutching a precarious eight-point advantage—after trailing by as many as 15 points—midway in the payoff period when the stubborn Jordan, paced by star guard Sam Dahgles, made it a one-possession game.
Dahgles finished with 18 points highlighted by clutch baskets, while Jordan’s naturalized center Rasheim Wright, whose triple attempt could have given them a crucial lead in the last two minutes, added 16 points.
Jordan, one of the top teams in Asia, raced to a 17-2 lead in the first quarter but the Philippines, buoyed by the presence of Lassiter, slowly chipped the lead down.
At stake for the champion of the tournament is an outright berth to the 2012 London Olympics.
Philippines, 72— Douthit, 19; Lassiter, 14; Alapag, 11; Tiu, 9; Williams, 6; De Ocampo, 4; Lutz, 4; Casio, 3; Taulava, 2; Barroca, 0; Aguilar, 0; Baracael 0.
Jordan, 64— Daghles, 18; Wright, 16; Z. Abbas, 10; Abuqoura, 7; I. Abbas, 6; Al-Sous, 5; Zaghab, 2; Hussein, 0.