Sunday, July 31, 2005

USA-Passing Lane edges Philippines, wins Jones Cup title

USA-Passing Lane, who has already clinched the 2005 Jones Cup title yesterday, beat Philippines 99-96 in the finale and came away with a perfect 9-0 record. But the final game was not easy as Philippines almost forced the game into overtime until team leader Asi Taulava missed the desperation three-point shot.

Passing Lane came out strong as expected and led by as many as 19 points. But Philippines was too experienced to let the game become a blowout. Taulava, who made two threes in the first half, attacked the rim repeatedly in the second half and led Philippines' furious comeback.

With Philippiines on their tails, Marcus Douthit made a turnaround jumper with 1:23 left to make the score 94-91. Taulava and Mike Williams made a free-throw each before Anthony Helterbrand made a twisting layup to cut the deficit down to one point with 56.2 seconds to go.

Ben Walker and Jordan Salvador traded basket as Passing Lane still led 97-96 with 22 seconds left. But Passing Lane broke down a Philippines full-court press in the next play as Steffon Bradford jammed home the most crucial basket of the game.

Philippines didn't give up. Coach Reyes called timeout to set up the final play. Taulava caught the inbound pass and faked a high post screen before launching the desperation three-pointer that bounced out.