FIBA-ASIA CHAMPION CUP:  RP  BOWS TO LEBANON, FACES JORDAN

MANILA, June 3, 2005 
(STAR) By Joey Villar -  Defending champion Segasse-Lebanon outmuscled San Miguel Beer-RP in a fight-marred 100-90 victory yesterday to seal the No. 2 spot in Group A in the 16th FedEx FIBA-Asia Champions Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Ren Ren Ritualo and Willie Miller whipped up a fourth quarter storm in a spirited fight back that fizzled out amidst crucial shooting by former NBA player Kenny Saterfield and Fadi Khatib.

With the loss, the Nationals will have to sweat it out against the taller, heftier Jordanians, Group Bís No. 2, in todayís quarterfinal round while the Lebanese face the lowly Kuwaitis.

Play was interrupted when former San Miguel import Stephen Howard kicked Enrico Villanueva, who retaliated by dragging the formerís foot from the key hole to near midcourt.

Howard, who was fouled hard by Mark Caguioa, was assessed only a unsportsmanlike foul while Villanueva was ejected from the game for the infraction.

The incident, however, inspired the Nationals to launch a spirited attack anchored on the tandem of Miller and Ritualo, who combined for 46 points, as they cut their deficit to five points four times, the last at 90-95.

Saterfield and Khatib finished the Filipinos off by combining for 15 of their 66 points in the final period.

Earlier, Al Rayyan-Qatar unleashed a torrid run in the early going then coasted along to a 92-56 victory over Fastlink-Jordan yesterday to gain the top seeding in Group B.

The win earned the Qataris the right to face the fourth-ranked team in the other group ó Tobol-Kazakhstan which outlasted India, 76-68.

Syria defeated United Arab Emirates, 75-63, to arrange a clash with Group A topnotcher Iran in the quarterfinals.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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