Thursday, February 11, 2010

Smart Gilas in the 21st Dubai International Tournament

Here's to give you a summary of what transpired in the Dubai International. I'll save my thoughts on the next entry after we've gone through all the teams and games. I know many of you don't exactly follow the games and are probably confused, especially with the unfamiliar names of the Middle Eastern squads. I have difficulty remembering them myself.

10 teams joined the tournament, we were the only non-middle eastern team that participated. The teams were divided into two brackets. Group A - Iran (Mahram), Lebanon (Al-Riyadi), UAE National team, Syria (Al Wehda), Egypt (Al Jazeera). Group B - Philippines (Smart Gilas), Jordan (Zain), Syria (Al Jalaa), Lebanon (Champville), UAE (Al Nasr). These are professional teams composed mainly of National team players plus 2 or 3 imports. The top 4 teams in each bracket move on to the quarterfinals and then a crossover knockout battle ensues 1A vs 4B, 2A vs 3B, 3A vs 2B, 4A vs 1B. We finished 2nd in our group with a 3-1 slate, losing to Al Jalaa Syria in our first game. As a result, we played Egypt in the other group in the quarterfinals and won to clinch a slot in the semis. Al-Riyadi defeated Champville to make it to the semis to forge a duel with us. As you already know, we lost to Al Riyadi (team of CJ Giles) by 3 points and ended up in a battle for 3rd against Al Jalaa of Syria, which we won.

Champion - Iran (Mahram), 2nd place - Lebanon (Al Riyadi), 3rd place - Philippines (Smart Gilas), 4th place - Syria (Al Jalaa)
MVP - Samad Nikkah of Iran
Mythical 5: Center - Woods (Mahram Iran), PF - CJ Giles (Al Riyadi Lebanon), SF - Samad Nikkah (Mahram Iran), SG - Michael (Al Jalaa Syria), PG - JVee Casio (Smart Gilas)

Yes! JVee was awarded the best point guard of the tournament over guards like Mahdi Kamrani of Iran because of his consistency all throughout the tournament and his impeccable 3-point shooting. Oh btw, he was sidelined for about 2.5 weeks until 2 days before the tournament started because of an injury obtained during one of our practice games vs Alaska.


Vs. Al Jalaa Syria

This was our first game of the tournament. We didn't know what to expect because we've never seen this team before and they did not have any player representative during the opening ceremonies. Once the warm-up period started on the court, we were just caught dumbfounded as we were informed that our only import Jamal Sampson was not going to play. And then the opposing team shows up with two 7-footers, two 6'10s, and several stocky players. Apparently, this team had 3 American imports including 2 naturalized Brazilian imports who are not recognized by FIBA, which is why they don't compete in FIBA tournaments. Their lineup included one of the best guards in Asia whose last name is 'Michael'. I can't remember his first name. He was part of the mythical 5 selection. They opened the game with a 14-0 lead, and never looked back. We lost big time in the rebounding and inside scoring departments. And we shot poorly from the outside. We lost 89-76.

Vs. Champville Lebanon

This was the team of Fadi El Khatib, probably the greatest player in Asia and a living legend in Lebanon. When we last played him in May of 2009 in the Champions Cup in Jakarta, he was a bit out of shape and overweight. But this time, he was very much in condition and a man on a mission. He scored 15 points in the 1st quarter and ended up with 40 points!! That's quite an achievement in a FIBA system where we play only 10-minute quarters. I've never played against any player who moved so swiftly and efficiently on the court scoring in all possible ways. Post up, up and under, drives, getting to the foul line, 3 point shot, etc. He stands around 6'6 and is very agile despite his age. Anyway, Jamal Sampson gave us a lift in this game by playing some quality minutes and getting the important rebounds which allowed us to emerge victorious 77-71. I don't exactly have a copy of the stats and my memory is starting to fail me so i can't remember who among the locals played well in this game.

Vs. Zain Jordan

Coach told us that this game will be a true test of character because we are practically playing the national team of Jordan plus 3 imports, just without big man Abbaas and their national team coach. It was our first time to play Jordan, who was reinforced by Sam Daghlas, Rasheem Wright, to name a few. We pretty much controlled the entire game all throughout because of our defense. If i recall correctly, this was the game where i didn't make a 2-pt field goal but had five 3-pointers and 2 free throws. I was lucky because they didn't know our individual tendencies very well which allowed me to get very good looks from beyond the arc. I've watched Rasheem Wright play on TV and he was indeed very explosive despite standing only about 6'2. I thought he was much taller. His first step and his elevation on drives and 3s made him very difficult to defend. Sadly, he sustained a very bad sprain after landing on a jump shot in the middle of the 4th quarter which made him sit out the rest of the game. We ended up winning the game by 3 points, 85-82.

Vs. Al Nasr UAE

This was a professional club team based in Dubai reinforced by 3 imports. 2 American (point guard and center) and 1 Tunisian (power forward). The imports practically scored 95% of all their points. Luckily for us, only two imports are allowed to play at a time inside the court. The PG import was a great scorer. Their center import, Vincent Jones, is probably the best shot blocker in Asia. He stands at 7'0 and can "jump to the roof" as Coach Toroman would put it, with great timing. The Tunisian import looks way older than his age, quite deceiving actually, but is an excellent and intelligent player. He can post up, drive and shoot like crazy! The game got very rugged and physical, with the home team resorting to dirty tactics out of desperation to stay a live. They needed a win to have a chance to qualify to the quarterfinals because they were 0-3 coming into the game. At the end, we were able to stand our ground and hold the fort. We finished the eliminations with a 3-1 record.

That's it for now! More on the quarters, semis, battle for 3rd and my thoughts on the games next time. I have to work now!! Thanks for reading and posting your comments!

Thank you also to Ion Gonzaga, Ares Gutierrez and Karen Santos for the photos, which i took from the Smart Gilas facebook account!



justMe said...

goodluck sa smart gilas sa mga susunod pang laban.

ian laput said...

your team did well in Dubai having clinched the third though it would have been better to see you in the final two. But anyway, a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Smart-Gilas. You have proven how great you all are as Filipino athletes despite the many trials your team have to go throughout the stint with PBA or the transfer of Giles. We all wish you all the best and May God continue to guide you and your team, champ captain...

Anonymous said...

eowzzzz ..

nice pix.!!
gudluck for the upcoming games and keep safe.!!


Anonymous said...

im always inspired by your blog or by anything that you do...there is really something in you that makes people admire you... keep it up and you will be blessed more..i really do hope and pray that there are still species like you..if not really like "chris tiu",someone close to.... your girlfriend is soooo lucky to have you:)

Kali said...

I followed the games through twitter and the team pilipinas site. you were pretty consistent with your shooting. you scored the highest points in two or more games. great job. :) plus, being team captain suits you well. you have good leadership. keep it up.

we love you and we're always behind you. More blessings. :) and remember, you're doing it for God's greater glory! :)

Anonymous said...

im always inspired by your really have something that makes people admire you...keep it up and you will be blessed more...i do hope and pray that there are still species lke you(youre just an endangered sp)if not really like "chris tiu",someone close girlfriend is soooo lucky..and i know youre lucky with her too..i wish both of you happiness :)

anna said...

congrats, so proud of you guys!

Anonymous said...

hi chris!!
it was nice again to hear another thoughts from you...
i know your tired enough to write a post..but still you really tried to share what you have experienced..
just always take good care of yourself and pray..
don't lose hope!!
good luck then!!
-janine n.

Nicole Ann said...

Thanks for updating! It's really nice of you to update your blog to keep us updated especially for those who don't get to watch your games. Ang galing talaga! Even if it's 3rd place (: The pictures are nice too since I haven't seen Dubai since 5 years ago, namiss ko na ang Dubai! Luckily I have gma pinoytv here in Canada so I can at least keep up (:

Good luck in future games, training sessions and other projects! Again, thanks for updating. Wishing you and the rest of the team, friends and family good health.

Erine said...

wow.. As what I can see from the pics, you guys were really playing against giants!!! but anyway, our country landed third so I guess height, doesn't matter that much...

Hmm, yeah, Its really difficult to catch up on updates about the games because its hard to catch up on the Tv updates... Its a good thing you posted it here.. hehehehe... Thanks for the Pics!!!!!!

Congrats to JVee Casio..
And also to you...


Louis said...

Chris, I think the Syrian (or Brazilian-Syrian or Brasyrian) player you are referring to is Michael Madanly. Michael is basically his first name. He actually played against the Chot Reyes led national team back in 2007 at the Manila Invitationals and at the FIBA-Asia Championships.

Louis said...

Chris, I think the Syrian (or Brazilian-Syrian or Brasyrian) player you mentioned is Michael Madanly. Michael is his first name. He actually played against the Chot Reyes led national team twice in 2007 -- at the Manila Invitationals and at the FIBA-Asia Championships.

Good Luck to you and the national team!

erica said...


So happy for Jayvee! We miss him though (playing in the DLSU court) :(

Jayvee couldn't do that without the help of his ever supportive (team captain... ehem :) , the whole team, Coach and the staff). I am very proud of what you guys have accomplished.
Hindi nyo lang na-prove that you deserve to be in the team, but you showed everybody that Filipinos can bounce back to the international basketball scene.

We wish to be able to see you guys play again here in the Philippines!

Keep us posted regarding your upcoming games. Don't forget to announce when your next competitions will be so that our "kababayans" all over the world would be able to cheer you up, but also have a taste of Philippine camaraderie.

Practice makes perfect. But you need to rest and replenish so do not hesitate to take a break when your body tells you to do so.

Stay safe!


jasmine said...

cOngratulations and gudluck


jasmine said...

cOngratulations and gudluck


queenie said...

Wow,congrats po pala!. Sobrang proud po kaming mga Pilipino sa inyo. Sana mapanood namin yung laban niyo, sana ipalabas ng GMA, kahit ba replay lang, okay lang yun kesa wala. Gusto ko po talagang mapanood.

Congrats po uli, at Gudluck Sa NEXt game ninyo..

Kae said...

Hi Captain, great post as usual!

I'm Atenean so I never liked Jvee during his stint in the UAAP. He's the type of player whom you'll LOVE if he's playing for your team but you'll HATE if he's playing against your team because he's THAT good of a player! So it was my first time to cheer for Jvee during Gilas' games in the Dubai Tournament. In fact, I was cheering for him the whole time, the other Kabayans sitting beside me thought I was a Lasallian. HAHAHA! Talk about being a convert. :))

Jvee really deserved that spot in the Mythical Five. He was really consistent throughout the game and he's such a sharp shooter! He's actually the favorite of the Arabic commentators, along with ANDY MARRRK, MUKK and CRISTOPERR (that's how he pronounced your names). All the Pinoys watching the game on TV and on live stream made fun of it! Same commentator called El Khatib ONE MAN SHUU (One Man Show) during your game against Champville. :)

I don't know if I shared this already but A LOT of Pinoys in the Philippines stay tuned at chatrooms just to wait for updates when there's no live streaming available. When I'm not watching live, I tried to give updates in the chatrooms and it was really touching to see your fellow Pinoys staying up late just to READ updates regarding the games. Talk about dedication! It's nice that a lot of Pinoys are now supporting the national team. :) I just hope that local TV stations will broadcast your international games so that the fans will no longer resort to updates at chatrooms.

Don't worry about the controversies and 'non-believers'. The fans are still here to support the team 100%! And believe me, you have more fans now! Everyone in Dubai are already excited this March. :)

PS: Thank you for crediting me for the photos. :) I'm sorry if the quality was not that good, I was only using a point and shoot camera. Haha.

mais said...

hi chris! do you know that you are one of the Top 40 sexiest men in the philippines? check it out!

Anonymous said...

I hope this word was between Smart Gilas and Jamal Sampson will end as it will only diminish the search for the appropriate import. I believe that no single person, like a foreigner like Jamal, should be allowed to derail the progress of smart gilas, and the sbp should come out with an official statement. If jamal continues to react to the official statement, i believe the sbp should not comment any further and lust concentrate on the end objective of landing a slot in the London olympics.

Trisha Tan said...

Hi Chris !

New advocacy campaign coming out soon & a new TV show @ TV5 what a great year for you .

Your phone patch interview with mo & mojo is super bitiiin .

Good luck !!!

bang said...

Congrats and Goodluck to your upcoming games!
We're so proud of you Smart Gilas!

Aida said...

Is it true that you will have a new show on TV5 ? or it is true that you will transfer on that network already ?

Hope you won't leave GMA 7 coz if that's happen I'll surely missed your 2 toprating show on kapuso network.

God Bless !

tita kay said...

Hello Chris,

Thanks for giving us your firsthand info. The sports pages of our broadsheets gave us some news about the games but not as detailed as this one.

We are proud of SMART GILAS TEAM.

crazypeach said...

I want to thank you for passing by my blog! If not for someone anonymous, I wouldn't know you actually saw my blog! Thanks so much for recognizing it! I'll update it again ASAP! Sorry if it has been a while since I last updated it. But I have so much more to share! Thanks so much again for the appreciation!

Chukhahamnida to Smart-Gilas! Wohoo!!!! Fighting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jenny said...

Hi Chris!
Congrats to you and to Smart Gilas!
We're proud of you! You're really a good captain.
And you keep your feet stay on the ground.
Keep us updated with your posts.
Sure you try to find time for us.
And that makes us love you.
God bless to your next games. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

In case you missed it, someone already uploaded on Youtube the Smart Gilas documentary: :)

I was wondering when was this documentary aired in the Philippines? :p

kristinee* said...

Way to go, highest pointer!
All the best of luck to your career and your team for the future. You guys are so inspiring, and watching you guys master the art of teamwork together is truly phenomenal.

You guys should come to Hong Kong some time =) PLAY! I may be a girl, but don't underestimate my NBA hoodness. haha! Plus I would love to be your tour guide!