January 20 - Wednesday
Smart Gilas Philippines vs Al Jezira Egypt 9PM Dubai | 1AM Manila

Original Source: RNHALAWI.COM

Smart Gilas Pilipinas kept its cool amid dirty plays and “homecourt calls" as it eked out an emotional 79-72 victory over a rough Al Nasr of the UAE Monday night to reach the quarterfinals of the 21st Dubai Invitational at the Al Ahli Indoor Stadium.

Read the whole report of GMANews.TV

85 - 82

5PM Dubai \ 9PM Manila Zain Jordan vs Pilipinas Gilas
7PM Dubai \ 11PM Manila Jalaa Syria Vs Champville Lebanon
9PM Dubai \ 1AM Wehda Vs Mahram Iran

We watched Smart Gilas Pilipinas won against Lebanon 77-71 live at Al Ahli Stadium, Dubai. It was a close game from tip-off til the last 2 minutes.

Great all around game from Gilas this time. Jamal Sampson, still limping, played few minutes, grabbed crucial rebounds and tip-ins. Chris Tiu played almost the entire 40 minutes. Great leadership by the lad. JV Casio hit 6 crucial FTs in the dying seconds. 3 offensive rebounds in less than a minute secured the win for us. Japeth Aguilar, used sparingly, had a highlight 2-handed follow-up dunk off a miss by Barroca. Tiu led Gilas with 15 points.

Fhadi El Khatib singlehandedly does all for Lebanon, scored 35 - the only double-digit scorer for the team. Noticeably though, the heftier Lebanese (excepth El Khatib) hesitates to drive inside despite having the height advantage. Their import, who was only used by 3rd Quarte was a non-factor in both sides of the court.

Geat cheering Pinoy crowd too! All of us are dancing to 'Bebot! Filipino!' I lost my voice. Funny, when the game is already under the Gilas control in the 1:30 mark, some cool Lebanese went to our side and roll their drums and chanted Filipino! Filipino! Filipino!

Great game

Games Today (January 15)
Game 1- Zain-Jordan Vs Nassr-UAE (5PM Dubai | 9PM Manila)
Game 2- Gezira-Egypt Vs Wehda-Syria (7PM Dubai | 11PM Manila)
Game 3- Champville-Lebanon Vs Smart Gilas-Philippines (9PM Dubai | 1AM Manila)

DUBAI—Smart Gilas Pilipinas put up a gallant front in the absence of naturalization candidate Jamal Sampson but just couldn’t find a way to match up with Al Jalaa of Syria’s size and dropped a 76-90 setback early Friday at the start of the import-laced Dubai Invitational here.

Egged wildly by a thousand-strong Filipino crowd at the Al-Ahli Sports Complex, JV Casio, only on his second real basketball game since being sidelined by a contusion he sustained in an exhibition game with Alaska, carried most of the fight for the country as he unleashed a 23-point outburst.

But the absence of Sampson, a 6’11” former NBA veteran who is being eyed by RP for naturalization hoping to give it inside muscle, proved too much for the Filipinos, who were just no match against the taller, bigger Syrians, who played with three American reinforcements.

Filipino-American Marcio Lassiter, Mac Baracael, Japeth Aguilar and Jason Ballesteros tried to plug the gaping hole by chipping in 11, 11, 10 and 10 points, respectively, and providing the needed rebounds and interior defense but Sampson was just too big a void to fill into.

Curiously, Sampson complained of pain on his knees and decided only not to play during the pre-game warm up.

“It’s always very difficult for us to play this game because all these teams, they have three Americans,” said RP’s Serbian coach Rajko Toroman. “We played without Sampson and it shocked us in the beginning.

“This competition, if we play without a big guy, we will not do too much,” he added.

Truly, Smart Gilas was jarred by the game time decision by Sampson not to play and started out sluggish and fell to a 0-13 deficit at the start of the game.

“He said had some sort of knee injury but I was thinking he’ll solve his problem. It shocked us that’s why we started 0-13 and after that it was very difficult to return to the game,” said Toroman.

Bernie Atienza, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas deputy executive director, said they would send Sampson to the doctors for re-evaluation, hoping he could suit up against Champville of Lebanon Saturday (1 a.m. RP time).

“Officially, we’ll have to verify tomorrow (Saturday). We’re still hoping he (Sampson) could play tomorrow and the rest of the games here,” said Atienza, who is the highest SBP official here since executive director Noli Eala was expected to arrive only Friday afternoon.

Smart Gilas captain Chris Tiu said he was disappointed with the development.

“Of course it was disappointing because we were hoping the team will be complete. Beforehand in games against Qatar and practice games here, we knew who would play,” said Tiu.

“This is really our problem, rebounding and our interior defense and then we’ll just know that he (Sampson) will not play. It wouldn’t have been better if he said it earlier and not decide during the warm up.

“It was really disappointing but on the positive side, everyone really fought hard. Balle (Ballesteros) was undersized but he really fought hard as well as the whole team to show that we have hard and we will fight whatever the odds are,” he added.

The Filipinos, however, didn’t give up easily as Aguilar went into a dunking spree and jammed in baskets four times to help them get back into the game.

And after skipper Chris Tiu and Baracael drained a pair of booming triples, RP finally equalized, 29-all midway in the second quarter.

But it turned out the Filipinos’ last hurrah as the Syrians closed the quarter with a 14-5 exchange to go into the break with a 43-34 lead.

And then the Syrians went into attack mode in the third canto as they pounded it inside to lead by as much as 26 points twice, the last at 74-48 to end the period.

RP, behind Casio and Ballesteros, tried to mount one final fight back but the hole was just too big for the Filipinos to get out from.

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