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Looking back at two historic FIBA Asia Cup runs from Philippines' Marcus Douthit
ASIA - The Philippines wildly celebrated after defeating Kazakhstan 93-75 in their final game of the FIBA World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers. The victory assured the proud basketball nation that they would be among the 32 teams at the FIBA World Cup this summer. Andray Blatche was lauded for his dominating performance in that game, putting up a whopping 41 points in the win.
But before there was a “Kuya Dray”, there was a “Kuya Marcus” that dominated in a couple of FIBA Asia Cup runs for the Philippines. Similarly, "Kuya Marcus" or Marcus Douthit was also a large part of the Philippines claiming a World Cup berth.
Let’s take a look back at some of Marcus Douthit’s best performances at the FIBA Asia Cup!
The 30-year-old Douthit finally made his FIBA Asia Cup debut as the naturalized player for the Philippines at the 2011 edition of the tournament in Wuhan, China. After an early defeat to the host and eventual champions, China, the Philippines were matched up against Jordan in the second round of the competition.
Douthit was able to come up with a big performance of 19 points and 15 rebounds, resulting on a 72-64 win for the Philippines over Jordan, a team that had beaten them two consecutive times in the 2007 and 2009 Asia Cups.
Big Stages demands Big Performances
Four days after beating Jordan, Douthit would have aruguably his best ever outing as a member of the Philippines national team. The team had advanced to the quarterfinals and were facing a feisty Chinese-Taipei squad.
Douthit erupted for 37 points on 56.0 percent shooting from the field, including his one and only three-pointer in Asia Cup play. The 2.08M (6’10”) center dominance was more than enough to overcome his opponent and boost the Philippines to the semifinal stage. The 37 points scored by Douthit was tied for 5th highest scoring output since the turn of the millennium and the highest ever in a knock-out stage win.
The Philippines went on to suffer a heartbreaking loss to Korea in the 3rd-place game 70-68, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from Douthit who put up 27 points and 22 rebounds, only one of two 20-20 games in the FIBA Asia Cup since 2007. Those 22 rebounds still stand up until this day tied for the most boards collected in a single game in the Asia Cup.
Douthit ended up leading the entire tournament in scoring and rebounding with 21.9 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. The tournament might not have had the best of endings for the Marcus Douthit, but it was a FIBA Asia Cup debut for the ages.
Swatting Shots and Making History
Douthit returned to play for the Philippines at the FIBA Asia Cup 2013, this time hosted on their home turf in Manila. Kuya Marcus’ offensive output wasn’t the same and averaged merely 11.9 points this time around, but was still pivotal to the Philippines’ defense.
The Syracuse native swatted away at least 2 shots in all but one of his 8 games played in the 2013 tournament. He ended up averaging 2.0 blocks per game, joining the ranks of elite defenders like Hamed Haddadi, Yi Jianlian, Zhou Qi, Quincy Davis, and Norvelle Pelle to average at least 2.0 rejections per contest in a FIBA Asia Cup tourney with a minimum of 5 games played (since 2007).
More than anything, Douthit wound up being a key part of the Philippines national team that overcame the “Korean Curse” by beating their archrivals in the 3rd place game and securing a trip to the FIBA World Cup - their first since 1978. Douthit was injured in the second half of the historic game, but his contribution over the past 3 years to the national team program was surely not left unrecognized.
"I'll never have Filipino blood, but as far as becoming a Filipino, I'll always have it in my heart," Douthit once told the Inquirer in 2011 and he’ll always be a part of Filipino basketball history for everything that he’s done.