Mo Tautuaa Sparks Endgame Blast as Gilas Pilipinas Takes on Towering Japan

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Gilas Pilipinas had to shake off a mediocre start before fueling a fiery finishing kick to lift the Philippines to a 75-60 win over Japan in the 37th William Jones Cup on Wednesday, at the Xinchuang Stadium, Taipei.

The nationals stood tall throughout the match despite the obvious height advantage of the Japanese dribblers to list their 2-1 record in the ongoing eliminations and remain on the Jones Cup title contention.

It was business as usual for Global Port Batang Pier superstar Terrence Romeo, as the ace guard went all the way to keep a searing Japan squad at bay, before PBA overall draft pick Moala Tautuaa broke out of the shell and triggered a convincing rally for the Philippines.

A deluge of treys from veterans Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood, Ranidel De Ocampo, and Gary David overwhelmed a stunned Japan side in the final minutes of the payoff quarter that served as the final nails in the coffin for Japan.

The Filipino hoopers looked in a finer shape this time after overcoming a rough Russian team just yesterday, and they even played wilder midway in the third canto against the tall Japanese.

Coach Tab Baldwin’s wards stepped on court with a sloppy run to begin with, and had to endure a couple of deadlocks on the first half before Calvin Abueva made his way and backed up Romeo just before the halftime.

It was then time for the nationals to prove what Filipinos are made of on the second half.

Soon-to-be Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters player Tautuaa made a huge noise inside the Xinchuang Stadium as he buried two slamdunks over a shackled Japan minutes away from the final buzzer, which lit up the momentum for Gilas’ three-point baskets that erected a 10-point bubble.

Japan still did not give up and returned the favor with consecutive jumpers, but Gary “El Granada” David owned the ball and sank another trey to move the Philippines to its 15-point landslide victory.

Terrence Romeo led Gilas anew with 16 points, while Mo Tautuaa added 10 points and 6 boards.

In addition, Ranidel de Ocampo and Jayson Castro made 10 markers apiece for the Philippines.

Game Scores:

Gilas Pilipinas (75) – Romeo 16, Tautuaa 10, De Ocampo 10, Castro 10, Norwood 9, David 8, Intal 3, Pingris 3, Rosario 2, Ganuelas 2, Ramos 0.

Japan (60) – Takeuchi 15, Hiejima 12, Furukawa 6, Tabuse 6, Kanamaru 5, Mitsuhara 4, Hirose 2, Arao 2, Hachimura 0, Hashimoto 0.