SMB-PILIPINAS  MAKES  IT  2  OVER  LEBANON  TEAM
 
MANILA, AUGUST 17, 2006 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - San Miguel-Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said they deserve to play in the coming Asian Games in Doha, Qatar after making it two in a row over second-ranked Asian team Lebanon.

The Nationals ran the breaks very well and shot steadily from afar on set-up offense to whip the Lebanese, 105-100, for the second straight time before a sparse crowd at the San Juan Gym last night.

Renren Ritualo made five three-pointers while Mick Pennisi, Jimmy Alapag, Willie Miller, Kelly Williams and Ranidel de Ocampo combined for nine triples as the Nationals duplicated their 19-point blowout of the Lebanese Wednesday at the Astrodome.

"Masaya ako na nanghihinayang. We’ve beaten Asian No. 3 team Qatar then we swept the No. 2 team Lebanon but we’re not playing in Saitama," said Reyes.

The Nationals leave Monday for Brunei to compete in the 2006 Sultan Cup then the RP team program will be put on hold until after the FIBA Congress during the World Championship in Saitama, Japan.

"We have three prayers. One is for our sports leaders to get united, second the FIBA gets enlightened and decides to lift our suspension and third we be allowed to play again," said Reyes.

"Everybody’s saying we deserve to play in the Asian Games. We’re as ready as we can be. I’m sure the players want to play," Reyes added.

"We’re ready as long as I have the right team. Here, I had the team I wanted," said Reyes in breaking his 10-game losing skid in international plays.

The Nationals repeated their 94-75 rout of the Lebanese Wednesday, overcoming a slow start and a 33-point explosion of Lebanese star all-round player Fadi El Khatib.

Pennisi banged the last of his three three-pointers with time down to 1:03 then, after a missed three-point attempt by Brian Bechara, Jimmy Alapag made a charity as San Miguel-Pilipinas all but wrapped up the win at 102-98.

The Nationals took a 46-44 edge at halftime but not after falling behind by 14 points early on.

A triple and a fastbreak layup by Miller had the host team surging ahead for the first time at 38-37 with 2:20 to go in the opening half.

"There’s no difference in the game plan we had Wednesday. Ang nagbago lang mindset. I told the boys we can’t win this game bringing the same intensity Sunday. The Lebanese will surely come out strong off a two-day break," said Reyes.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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