Gilas topples Overtake Select, but Iran clinches Jones Cup

Ivan Saldajeno (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

TAIPEI--Gilas Pilipinas rode on a hot game of Calvin Abueva to take down the Overtake Pro Select of the United States, 78-74, in their initially-important Jones Cup battle at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium on Saturday night.

Abueva had 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block for Gilas, his best outing as a national team player.

The Philippine team shocked the Americans in the third quarter, opening an 18-point cushion, 55-37, with 4:10 left in the period.

Overtake tried to slowly crawled back, but Gilas rebuilt a 16-point lead, 63-47, with 7:34 remaining in the match.

The U.S. side mounted another rally, this time cutting the lead to as low as four, 70-66, with 2:34 left, but Sonny Thoss made back-to-back jumpers to stretch it back to eight, 74-66, with 1:22 remaining.

Cory Bradford sparked a 5-0 run that cropped the Gilas lead down to one, 74-71, with two seconds left.

Dondon Hontiveros hit two charities after a quick foul to widen the gap to five, 76-71.

Calvin Warner only made a split in his own trip to the line, and Abueva sealed the win with two free throws of his own.

Warner, however, still wowed the crowd by finishing an alley-oop off a long pass from Gilas' baseline.

Thoss added 13 markers with six rebounds, one assist, and two steals.

Former Purefoods import Marquin Chandler finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Bradford, who played the entire game, added 19 and four for the team mentored by former NBA Coach of the Year Sam Mitchell.

However, Gilas can only finish as high as second as Iran officially clinched the title, its fifth overall championship, after beating Spartak Primoryi in an earlier game, 78-54.