Undersized Powerade-Team Pilipinas got a full measure of the height and depth of an Asian cage superpower Sunday after getting trampled by Iran 85-60 at the close of the 31st William Jones Cup tournament at the Hsinchuang gym.
A broken-down shot clock briefly delayed the inevitable as venue technicians worked feverishly for an hour to repair the problem.
When it was fixed, the rout was on as the first meeting between the two teams since the 2007 FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship–an Olympic qualifying tournament–in Tokushima, Japan ended earlier than it last did.
While their previous encounter came down the wire before the Iranians, who went on to capture the title and qualify to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, prevailed 75-69 the Nationals fell behind early this time 14-7 and eventually got buried at the half 51-23.
The second half avalanche that followed sealed a doomed climax for the RP team.
Shrugging off a hit sustained from Ranidel de Ocampo that produced an angry bruise above his right eye, Iran’s 7-foot-3 behemoth Hamed Ehadadi, who had 19 points and 12 rebounds, parked his skyscraping frame in the paint and was the key to Iran’s complete dominance in every aspect of the mismatch.
With Serbian Rajko Toroman, who coached them in Tokushima, watching at sideline, the Iranians delivered an awesome performance that installed them as a force to reckon with in the 25th FIBA Asia Men’s Championship in Tianjin, China next month.
The Nationals wrapped up its campaign with a 2-6 slate, good for sixth spot which was three rungs lower than the third place finish of their 2007 predecessors.
The RP Team in Saturday beat Taiwan’s Team B, 94-90. Willie Miller scored 22 points, Arwind Santos added 16 and Jared Dillinger 13 points as the Nationals, who had strips of yellow adhesives taped to their jerseys in honor of ailing former president Corazon C. Aquino, ended a three-game losing streak in improving to 2-5.
Taiwan’s second team absorbed its sixth loss in seven games but not after giving the RP team, which led 92-81 on Miller’s free throws with less than two minutes remaining, another endgame scare.
The Nationals were more up to the task this time despite national coach Yeng Guiao’s decision to turn the last few minutes of the game into a practicum for Dillinger, Santos and Japeth Aguilar.
Dillinger and Aguilar missed four free throws in succession, leaving Taiwan-B within 92-88, but Santos, a consistent member of the PBA’s All-Defensive team, stole the ball from forward Chang Tsung and converted a breakaway layup for 94-88 with 35 seconds to go.
POWERADE-RP 94 – Miller 22, Santos 16, Dillinger 13, Baguio 12, Raymundo 6, Taulava 6, Norwood 6, Aguilar 6, De Ocampo 4, Thoss 2, Arboleda 2.
TAIWAN-B 90 – Chang T.H. 24, Kin 17, Chen 12, Lin 8, Chen Y.A. 8, Lu 6, Lo 5, Tsai 4, Hung 3, Wang 3, Lin C.J. 0.
Quarterscores: 28-22; 48-41; 69-67; 94-90
Iran 85 – Ehadadi 19, Bahrami 18, Afagh 14, Tadjik 11, Kamrany 9, Sahakian 6, Amini 3, Davoudi 2, Davarpanah 2, Akbari 1, Doraghi 0, Davari 0.
Team Pilipinas 60 – Thoss 13, Baguio 12, Santos 9, Aguilar 7, Dillinger 5, De Ocampo 4, Raymundo 3, Miller 3, Taulava 2, Norwood 2.
Quarterscores: 25-12; 41-23; 74-43; 85-60