Just got a text a few minutes ago. Team Pilipinas just finished off Iran, 89-79.
It is a good victory for our national cagers considering they just came from another heartbreaking loss to Jordan, 70-74, yesterday. As you would have read by now, Kerby Raymundo had a chance to tie the ballgame with two free throws (RP down then by 2, 68-70, with 1:03 to go in the game). However… you guessed it. Two free throws muffed.
It might interest all of you to know that both Jordan and Iran are bracketed with the Philippines and China in the “Group of Death” for the FIBA-Asia Qualifiers, which will take place at the end of this month (July 2007). The top two teams of each group advance to the quarters and so on. Assuming that we’ll be waylaid by China (hope not, though), we will need to beat both Jordan and Iran to obviously assure ourselves entry to the next round. Or if we’ll only manage a 1-2 record, we’ll have to rely both on hardwork (win by as many points as we can and lose by as few as possible — quotient system) and help from Lady Luck (that Iran, Jordan, and the Philippines cancel out each other’s win) to move into the next round via photo finish.
I am quite satisfied with the way Team Pilipinas has played in this 29th edition of the Jones Cup. If we had played it more intelligently and carefully, we would’ve been sporting a 6-0 win-loss record by now. Our three losses: to Lebanon, 62-65 (via a last second 3-point shot that went off the glass); to Japan, 82-84 (via a dying-seconds-turnover by Dondon Hontiveros, en route to a breakaway layup for the marginal basket); and to Jordan, as mentioned above.
Chot and his wards came to the Jones Cup to study and practice. I believe they are doing their job well.
Keep it up, Boys!