FIBA  ASIA  CHAMPIONS  CUP:  RP  5  FALTERS  AGAIN

TEHRAN, MAY 16, 2007
(MANILA TIMES) TEHRAN: Taking the good with the bad and moving on. This was stressed no end by coach Chot Reyes after his San Miguel-RP Team lost to Kazakhstan’s Astana Tigers 66-75 Monday night in the 18th FIBA Asia Champions Cup at the Azadi Sports Complex here.

The loss was the second in as many Group B outings for the Nationals and Reyes was qu­ick to boost his players’ sagging morale by reminding them of their ultimate purpose in this tournament that precedes next week’s Seaba tilt and July’s FIBA Asia Championship, the qualifier for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

”What is important is for us to continue to play together, not to abandon each other and what we’re trying to build,” he said. “All of these are part of our learning process and these games will help us down the road so we have to deal with it, continue to get better and play as a team.”

The learning is not limited to his players, added Reyes. “Kaya nga I’m playing everybody, to try and get the right combinations that will be put to use later din,” he said.

There were already some encouraging signs.

After being held to just 27 boards in an 88-101 loss to Iran’s Saba Battery Club last Sunday, the Nationals were just barely outrebounded by the taller Kazakhs 49-48. Also the Nationals had 76 field goal attempts and forced their opponents to 12 turnovers.

It’s just that the Kazakhs augmented their fast-moving offense and bruising defense by shooting better from the field 21-for-66 and making more free throws 26-10.

”They came out and played hard while we didn’t play particularly well. We’re still trying to find our rhythm,” said Reyes.

After being held to just six points in their initial outing, Danny Seigle exploded for team highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds despite suffering a sprain, like Jimmy Alapag, after landing on a Kazakh guard’s stuck-out foot.

Yevgeny Issakov, a sweet-shooting 6-foot-9 forward, had 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead Astana, which ironically played better when 7-foot Russian import Sergey Smirnov rode the bench due to foul trouble.

Scores:

Kazakhstan 75 – Issakov 25, Shpekht 15, Smirnov 13, Yargaliyev 7, Biryulin 5, Panomarev 4, Tyutyunik 3, Skornyakov 2, Dzorhanov 1, Voyeikov 0.

SM-RP 66 – Seigle 21, Caguioa 18, Villanueva 8, Taulava 6, Raymundo 6, Ritualo 3, Alapag 2, Hontiveros 2, Helterbrand 0, de Ocampo 0, de la Cruz 0, Pennisi 0.

Quarters: 14-16; 33-27; 55-45; 75-66.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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