With the SEABA mission accomplished, Smart Gilas trains its sights on the FIBA Asia Championship in Wuhan, China in September, hopeful of its bid for the lone berth in next year’s London Olympic Games.
The National swept the four-day SEABA tilt in emphatic fashion, beating the opposition by an average 40 points, including an 89-50 rout of Indonesia in the final of the four-day meet in Jakarta.
“We have two goals here, to make it to the Wuhan championship and win this tournament. We’ve achieved both,” said Smart Gilas coach Rajko Toroman.
Although the competition in Jakarta pales in comparison with the field in Wuhan, the SEABA romp has given the badly decimated Gilas side the moral boost and impetus to go for the lone Olympic slot.
The FIBA-Asia Championship, slated Sept. 15-25, features the best teams in the region, including those who competed in the recent Champions Cup at Philsports Arena, led by champion Lebanon and runner-up Iran.
Smart Gilas lost by just three points, 77-80, to Iran in their semifinal duel and then played listlessly in bowing to Qatar in the battle for third.
But in Wuhan, the Nationals to play in full force with the four PBA players – Asi Taulava, Dondon Hontiveros, Kelly Williams and Jimmy Alapag – expected to suit up after opting to sit out the SEABA campaign.
There was actually no need for a reinforcement in Jakarta as Smart Gilas dominated the opposition despite a depleted roster.
In the finals, the Nationals overpowered the hosts the way they outclassed them in their elims clash en route to a 40-point romp as they completed a four-game sweep of the tournament.
The Filipinos routed the opposition with an average winning margin of 40 points following earlier victories over the Malaysians, 97-71, Thursday, the Indonesians Friday, 94-54, and the Singaporeans, 106-51, Saturday.
Smart Gilas uncorked a 17-0 blitz anchored on Mac Baracael to put the game out of reach right in the second quarter.
All nine players Toroman fielded in scored at least four points with co-skipper Mark Barroca leading the way with 17 points and Marcus Douthit, captain Chris Tiu and Baracael chipping in 16, 13 and 12 points, respectively.
With the referees calling it tight and the Indonesians playing tougher defense, the Nationals proved unforgiving and posted a 46-27 advantage at the break.
The 6-10 Douthit powered his way to 12 points and six rebounds as the Nationals dominated the boards at the break with 22 rebounds as against 13 by the Indonesians.
They also hit 11 of their 14 charities against just four of nine by the hosts although Smart Gilas turned the ball over seven times.
Smart Gilas 89 – Barroca 17, Douthit 16, Tiu 13, Baracael 12, Aguilar 9, Lutz 7, Ababou 6, Casio 5, Ballesteros 4
Indonesia 50 – Gunawan 14, Ahmad 12, Prawiro 11, Poedjakesuma 4, Indrawan 4, Prihantono 3, Setepu 2, Aryo 0, Chandra 0, Wuysang 0, Thoyib 0, Situmorang 0
Quarterscores: 31-10; 46-27; 67-35; 89-50