TAIPEI - Garvo Lanete is the only amateur in the Smart Gilas II but he outshone his more illustrious - and wealthier - teammates as the national team waylaid Taiwan's B team, 99-68, for its second straight victory at the Jones Cup.
Lanete received profuse praise from his coach and teammates who credited him for his professisonal brand of basketball.
His first shot, which he badly missed, did not indicate a breakout night for the amateur in the Gilas team. The other rookie in the team is Fil-Am Matt Ganuelas Rosser.
But he followed it up with a three-point play on his second attempt to finish the half with 10 points and found himself as the player with the most points at the half.
He scored 11 more in the next two quarters to outshine his millionaire teammates as he topscored with 21 points.
''Medyo kinabahan ako ng una kong shot pero hindi ako nawalan ng kumpyansa,'' said Lanete, who also had four rebounds, four steals and three assists in 22 minutes of action. That earned him raves from almost everybody, including one female Filipino migrant, who shouted: ''May bonus kang kiss sa akin.''
Smart Gilas II coach Chot Reyes was not surprised with Lanete's performance, saying he had seen the exploits of the former San Beda star in the NCAA where he helped the San Marcelino squad win four NCAA championships.
''Ang galing talaga ng batang iyon, nagbitbit pa ng labada kagabi iyon dahil isa siya sa mga rookie sa team,'' said Reyes. ''He's very tough, very intelligent kind of player. He gave us the spark we needed.''
After Jeff Chan knocked in his first triple of the game, Lanete staged a brief one-man show as he buried back-to-back baskets, including a trey to cap a 15-2 run that ripped the game wide open, 47-26.
The Nationals had a tight first seven minutes, allowing the host squad to take a 11-10 lead. But that lead soon disappeared when Larry Fonacier highlighted an 18-7 windup with two triples that gave them a 28-18 advantage.
Though cheered lustily by the home crowd, pleading them to make a run of their own, the Taiwanese could not create a spark as the Nationals were there ready to douse it off.
Smart Gilas win was a fitting sequel to its stunning 88-78 win over Jordan the other day, a victory that would likely gave them an extra motivation when they clash with the sharp-shooting South Korean squad today.
''Definitely it's good motivation for the boys,'' said Smart Gilas team manager Butch Antonio. ''But we have to prepare well for them offensively.''
The Koreans likewise claimed their second win when they crushed Lebanon, 94-78.