Gilas Pilipinas will face Japan on the fourth day of the 39th William Jones Cup in Taipei, Taiwan. The Philippines are coming off two wins over Chinese Taipei Blue and White, while Japan is still winless after three games in the tournament. Gilas Pilipinas is the defending William Jones Cup champion.
The Philippines, composed of youngsters, picked up their second win of the tournament. However, they had a harder time against the Chinese Taipei reserve team than their main team. Gilas Pilipinas was given a challenge by Chinese Taipei White on Monday in a hard-fought 93-82 victory, per Inquirer.net. It was a different story since the Chinese Taipei Blue, the first team, lost to the Philippines by 16 points.
Matthew Wright had another big game for Gilas Pilipinas as he led the team in scoring. Wright had 21 points, three rebounds, and two steals. He stayed hot beyond the arc as he hit a game-high, five three-point shots. Roger Pogoy added 15 points, while Kiefer Ravena had 10 points, two rebounds, and seven assists.
Gilas Pilipinas import Michael Myers finally had his best game of the tournament. Myers had a double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Jiovani Jalalon also reached double-digits in scoring for the first time with 13 points and adding five assists.
Chot Reyes, the head coach of Gilas Pilipinas, was very pleased after the game despite the subpar performance of his team. Reyes told reporters (h/t SPIN.ph) that the pace and energy of his players were the difference maker in their win over Chinese Taipei White
“If our team lacked energy, we’re nothing. But if we can’t have pace, we’re in trouble. We don’t have a low-post threat where we can just dump the ball inside and let him do his thing, so we really need the pace and energy out there. Fortunately, we were able to grind this one out today.”
Bobby Ray Parks, who was injured in Sunday’s game, was given a rest by the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff. Parks suffered a sprained right ankle after stepping on an opponent’s foot during a rebound play. According to Tiebreaker Times, the 24-year-old is ready to play on Tuesday against Japan.
Japan, on the other hand, lost their third straight game on Monday and remained winless. The Japanese B-Team was clobbered by Lithuania, 94-67. Shooting guard Shuta Hara was the lone bright spot for Japan as he put up a nice stat line in 23 minutes. He finished the game with 21 points, two rebounds, one assist, and one steal.
The Japanese have not won the William Jones Cup in their history. They finished third three times with the last one happening back in 2010. If Japan sent their first team this tournament, they would have a legitimate shot of winning their first-ever William Jones Cup.
Gilas Pilipinas vs. Japan is scheduled on Tuesday, July 18, at the Taipei Peace International Basketball Hall in Taipei, Taiwan. Tip-off is at 1 a.m. Eastern Time and 1 p.m. in Taiwan. Fans can catch the Gilas Pilipinas vs. Japan game via live stream at Sports5 Live.
[Featured Image by Stanley Chou/Getty Images]