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How Gilas Pilipinas Pulled Away From Japan And Booked That Finals Matchup Against China

In the words of Coldplay, 'Nobody said it was (would be) easy'...
by John Paulo Aguilera | Oct 2, 2015
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In the words of Coldplay, "Nobody said it was (would be) easy"...

Having faced the Japs in the second round of the tournament, Gilas Pilipinas was damn well sure that our opponent more or less had a good idea on how to play us. Judging from that seven-point deficit during their first enounter, our boys are fully aware on how cutthroat this Japanese collective was, even though they aren't Shohoku.

And that showed in our semifinal matchup against them tonight...

16-17. 37-37. 54-54.

By the way, those aren't per 5-minute stats. These numbers just reflected how tightly contested game was during its first three quarters. The opposing teams were able to cross out one another in terms of production, relying on their respective dynamic duos--Makoto Hiejima and Joji Takeuchi for Japan, and Andray Blatche and Jason Castro for Gilas.

What spelled the difference in the final quarter of this much important affair? We list all the factors below:

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Blatche once again led the team with 22 markers and 13 rebounds, while Castro William ably set the tone and orchestrate an intially lethargic Gilas offense with 20 points and a game-high seven assists. Hontiveros and De Ocampo may have come alive in the crucial 10 minutes, but it wouldn't be possible if not for Asia's strongest one-two punch keeping the Philippine contingent at bay.

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40 minutes into the fourth canto, Dondon Hontiveros knocks down a triple to break the tie, 57-54. Barely five minutes left in the game, Dondon checks in and makes a couple from rainbow country. The Cebuano Hotshot ends up with 18 points in 25 minutes of play, firing a blazing 6 out of 9 from three-point land and leaving the Japanese asking themselves, "Where did we go wrong?"

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A little over two minutes left in the game, RDO pulled out one of the more spirited sequences in the game, at a time the team needed it the most. At 2:44, Ranidel secures the defensive rebound, and after Dondon clunked a three-pointer, the former converts an improbable putback to put Gilas up, 74-68. (Not to mention that swat and gap-widening trifecta early in the quarter.)

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If that ain't #PUSO, we don't know what is...

Good luck with China tomorrow, bros.

Photos via FILA's official website
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