SMART-Gilas had shown it could win without Marcus Douthit. With him back, there was simply no way to stop the Nationals.
Gilas buckled down to work early and banked on its 6-foot-10 center in the endgame to beat Barangay Ginebra, 111-104, Wednesday and earn the first automatic semifinals berths in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Marcio Lassiter went near-perfect from the field in the opening quarter to provide the Nationals with the spark before Douthit took over in the fourth period after Ginebra rallied back from several
18-point deficits to within five.
Douthit, who missed a 98-97 win over Powerade last Sunday to rest a sprain, scored 14 of his conference-high-tying 30 points in the final canto, including seven straight that plucked Gilas for
good from a 97-91 count inside the last 2:00.