Smart Gilas downs host Qatar

Smart Gilas Pilipinas showed the other facet of its game as it shellacked host Qatar with its newfound defense, 46-38, late Friday night in the first of an exhibition series in its two-week Middle East sojourn.

Playing before a loud, predominantly Filipino crowd at the jampacked Al Gharaf Stadium in Doha, Qatar, the Nationals kept the Qataris out of their comfort zone with a nearly impenetrable interior defense to jumpstart its series of exhibition games culminating in the prestigious Dubai Invitational slated Jan. 14-23.

“It was a good way to start this Middle East campaign, the team played with a lot of courage and spirit,” Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas executive director Noli Eala said minutes after the win by Smart Gilas mentored by Serbian Rajko Toroman.

Dylan Ababou, the 2009 UAAP MVP, led RP with 11 points while late addition Marcio Lassiter chipped in eight markers although the key was the Filipinos’ indomitable defense anchored on naturalization candidate Jamal Sampson, who grabbed 19 rebounds.

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