THE SMART-Gilas RP team booked the first semifinals slot after beating Al Gezira of Egypt, 82-78, in the quarterfinal round of the 21st Dubai International basketball tournament.

The win was Gilas’ fourth straight since suffering an 89-76 loss to Al-Jalaa of Syria on the tournament’s opening day.

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Gilas copped the No.2 spot in Group B after finishing the elimination round with a 3-1 record.

The Filipinos allowed Al Gezira to jump off to a hot start, seizing a 39-24 lead in the second before making it 44-35 lead at the bend.

However, that was the last the Egyptians got ahead as Gilas took over the lead, 50-48, in the third period.

The gap ballooned to 75-64 in the final four minutes before Al Gezira dropped its last hurrah--an 11-2 run that put the team to 77-75.

Today, Smart-Gilas will try to bag the first finals seat as it faces Al-Riyadi, which has CJ Giles and former San Miguel import Nate Johnson as reinforcements.

Giles used to play for the Smart Gilas.

Mac Baracael again topscored for Gilas with 24 points while Mark Barroca added 13.