TAIPEI -- The Philippines dropped its opening-day assignment in the 39th William Jones Cup, losing 77-90 to Canada at the Taipei Peace International Basketball Hall here Saturday.
Known as Gilas, the Filipinos failed to keep pace with the taller and more-experienced Canadians and took a sorry setback before a big crowd that included hundred of Filipino fans.
The Filipino team, composed mostly of PBA rookies and amateur standouts, allowed the Canadians to pull away rightin the opening half and never recovered from there.
“Our game could use a lot better shooting, better defense,” said former Gilas coach Chot Reyes in an interview with veteran editor Dodo Catacutan of Spin.Ph.
“But that’s the reason we’re here -- to grow and improve,” added Reyes.
Reyes said this Gilas side is much younger compared to the Philippine national side that won this annual showpiece in 2013 under him, or the 2015 team brought here by former national coach Tab Baldwin that finished second to Iran.
And its inexperience showed in a first half that saw Gilas trail, 34-44, after making just 20 percent of its shots from three-point range, 37 percent overall, and commit 15 turnovers that left Reyes furious and often scratching his head on the sidelines.
Canada coach Kyle Julius admitted the Canadian side practiced together only four hours before the start of the event “Coming in, I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Julius of a selection made up mostly of players pickd up from the Canada league.
“But I liked the ball movement, I liked the togetherness. We played hard. So it's a good win for a team that practiced for just four hours.:
From among its long-range gunners, only Matthew Wright found a semblance of rhythm when he made eight points including two three-pointers to cut Canada's lead to 60-68 with 8:50 left to play.
Canada, however, stepped on the gas from there, bringing the lead back up to 15 points, 80-65, with 6:45 to go on an alley-oop, two-handed jam by high-flyer Michale Kyser.
Kiefer Ravena led Gilas with 12 points off the bench while Ray Parks, Jr. added 11 for Gilas, which turned the ball over 22 times and made just 41 percent of its shots.
Parks also had five rebounds, two assists, and three steals for the Filipinos,
Carl Bryan Cruz was the other Filipino in double figures after finishing with 10 in a starting role.
Naturalized player Christian Standhardinger grabbed the most rebounds with 10.
Reyes, however, was left to rue the 40 free throws Gilas gave up to the Canadians, who made 31.
In contrast, the Filipinos made just 14 free throws from 21 attempts.
“You can’t win a game giving up 40 free throws against a quality side like that,” Reyes said.
Canada, represented in the Jones Cup by 3d Global Sports, got 15 points from Garret Williamson.
Joey Haywood, Diego Kapelan and Michale Kyser also contributed double-digit scores to dictate the pace from the second period until the final buzzer. Actually, Gilas ended the opening salvo with a one-point lead over their foes and rode on the momentum a bit en route the next period (22-19).
But that's the only taste of lead they ever got in next 30 minutes of action.
After a slow start, Gilas recovered well enough to take a slim 20-19 lead after the first quarter.
However, things fell apart in the second as turnovers and fouls doomed the national team allowing the Canadians to pull away and open up a 10-point lead at the break, 44-34.
Gilas tried to fight back in the second half but even a mini explosion from Fil-Canadian gunner Matthew Wright wasn't enough to overcome the opposition.
Gilas collected 26 fouls in the game compared to Canada's 21.
The latter committed 16 errors in the first half which eventually cost them a shot at catching a groove.
Gilas takes on one of the two Chinese Taipei teams at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
The tournament, which features nine countries, runs until July 23
Canada (90) -- Williamson 15, Haywood 12, Kapelan 12, Smith 9, Wood 9, Friesen 8, Sutherland 5, Keith 4, Mordan 2, Bachyski 2.
Gilas-Pilipinas (77) -- Ravena 12, Parks 11, Cruz 10, Wright 9, Standhardinger 9, Jalalon 5, Myers 7, Paras 4, Pogoy 4, Ferrer 3, Belo 3, Jose 0
Quarterscores: 19-20; 44-34; 66-54, 90-77.