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PH sinks Japan

 

By NICK GIONGCO

 

JAKARTA – The Philippines flexed just enough muscle in disposing of a depleted Japanese squad Tuesday, 113-80, to earn the right to figure in the battle for fifth place in the Asian Games basketball competition.

With the win, the current crew has surpassed the previous finish of seventh place in Incheon and national team head coach Yeng Guiao isn’t about to rest on his laurels.

“We are just trying to salvage the best place finish that we can and try play good all this time,” said Guiao, who a day earlier, had his heart broken when Korea denied them entry into the medal round.

“Finish on a winning note. That’s a good going-away present for Jordan who is going to back to the States and go to the NBA camp,” said Guiao, referring to Jordan Clarkson, the Cleveland Cavalier starter, who is set to fly back to the US.

The Philippines will play the survivor of the Indonesia-Syria showdown being played at presstime on Friday for fifth spot.

“We want to feel good about this whole thing but course we’ve had some sorry losses but we’d still want to finish strong with some wins,” he said, noting that the 6-foot-5 Clarkson, who wound up with a second-best 22 points, will suit up in the game for fifth.

Though Fil-German Christian Standhardinger starred with a game-high 27 points, Guiao singled out Clarkson’s court savvy as key in the Philippines’ breakaway in the third quarter.

After engaging in a 47-47 standoff after 20 minutes, the Philippines zoomed to an 82-64 edge going into the final frame behind Clarkson’s six points and his pin-point passes that numbered nine at the end of the contest.

“He (Jordan) displayed it (passing skills) certainly today. He made his teammates look good and its natural for him and he’s a great passer. It helped us in the breakaway,” said Guiao.

Standhardinger also earned Guiao’s praise as with Stanley Pringle and Paul Lee.

Japan was led by Taichi Nakamura’s 16 but it could have performed better had it showed up with a complete lineup following the sudden departure of four dribblers owing to their involvement in a sexual escapade earlier in the Games.

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