Smart Gilas Philippines Wins Over Moutahed of Lebanon in Dubai Basketball Invitationals

Photo by Ion Gonzaga

11-0 was the score in favor of Moutahed of Lebanon when we arrived at a packed Al Ahli Sports Club - around 5 minutes left in the first quarter. But Smart Gilas Philippines did several rallies to end the first half on top by a thread 41-40, and eventually won the game 79-77. This is their first game in this 24th Dubai International Basketball Invitational.

Despite a lot of bad calls from one referee, the young Philippine team delighted the crowd by a sweet upset over the much taller and heftier Lebanese team who also paraded 3 imports led by Marc Salyers and some members of the national team led by Rony Fahed.

It's like a home court game once again as the stadium is packed with 90% loud and proud Filipinos and the rest are Lebanese.

Naturalized player Marcus Douthit led Smart Gilas with 20 points and a dozen of highlight slams, Garvon Lanete with 15, Ronjay Buenafe with 10, and Kevin Alas with 9 points to add to his smart orchestration of plays.

Philippines, bannering First Security Group, takes on Al Ahli of UAE tonight, and Sporting Aramex of Jordan tomorrow. All Philippine team games are scheduled at 9pm at Al Ahli Sports Club - perhaps give Filipino fans the opportunity to watch the games live, no excuses (of work). Tickets during the eliminations are priced at AED20.

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