RP Five sweeps Hoopdreamz Australia by Miko Selorio

MANILA, Philippines – POWERADE-TEAM PILIPINAS drew a clutch performance from Kerby Raymundo as it hacked out a 93-89 overtime victory over a vastly-improved Hoopdreamz Australia squad to complete a two-game sweep of the Motolite RP-Australia Goodwill Games at the Araneta Coliseum.


Pushed to the wall by an Aussie squad reinforced by a couple of American imports, the Filipinos showed some steely resolve, rallying from as many as eight points down in the final period—thanks mainly to Raymundo, who took charge by pouring 17 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and in extra time.


Raymundo drained a jumper with 21.5 seconds left to shove the Nationals ahead, 89-86, and Arwind Santos completed a layup off a Gabe Norwood steal to wrap up the victory.


Unlike in the first game which saw the Nationals cruise to an 87-63 triumph, the Aussies— beefed up by Talk N’ Text import Tiras Wade and Burger King reinforcement Shawn Daniels—provided a tougher test this time.


And for coach Yeng Guiao, it was just the kind of game the Nationals needed as they toughen up for the FIBA-Asia Championships in August.


“We want to feel how to win close games,” he said. “It’s a good measure of the character of the team and the players.


“Kerby’s character is unquestioned. We missed some shots but the important thing is we got the win. It was a different ballgame and this was not the Australia that we played last Friday. Tiras and Shawn did a good job.”


Asi Taulava missed two potential game-winning free throws with 2.8 seconds left in regulation after Graeme Dann tied the game at 80-all with a triple with 1:44 left.


Trailing 62-69, Raymundo, who nearly opted out of the RP Team because he was having difficulty with his PBA club Purefoods, began his scoring spree with a jumper at the 8:23 mark and capped it with a layup with 3:18 left that gave the Nationals their first lead since falling behind, 50-58, in the third quarter.


Unlike in the first game of the series sponsored by Edsa Shangri-La hotel, Motolite and Phoenix Fuel, the nationals got off to a blistering start with Ryan Reyes firing six points in a 9-0 blast in the opening three and a half minutes. (www.hoopdreamz.com.au) – ?