Gilas sets q’finals duel vs Iran

October 2, 2023 Robert Andaya 1107 views

FORGET the 62-87 loss to Jordan and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson at the end of the quarterfinal phase last Saturday.

The Philippines is moving on to the quarterfinal stage of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China against long-time rival Iran.

Led by six-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, Gilas Pilipinas demolished Qatar, 80-41, at the Zhejiang University Zijingang Stadium on Monday.

Fajardo led the way for the Filipinos with 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting and three boards, while Perez added 12 points, four rebounds and three assists.

Calvin Oftana also made his presence felt with 11 points, including nine from the three-point area, and two rebounds and two steals.

PBA Best Import awardee Justin Brownlee finished with nine points and five rebounds while playing for only eight minutes for the Tim Cone-mentored Filipinos.

The rest of the Filipinos also stepped up in the must-win game against Qatar, with Japeth Aguilar adding nine points and four blocks.

Ange Kouame finished with eight points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks.

Kevin Alas and Arvin Tolentino added eight and six points, respectively.

The Filipinos, who are seeking their first Asian Games medal since winning the bronze in 1998, are hoping to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2002.

A victory over Iran will also set up a final four clash against either defending champion China or the winner between South Korea and Bahrain.

Actually, the Filipinos dominated the game right from the start, taking a 33-14 lead in the first quarter.

They also limited the Qataris to only nine and seven points in the second and third quarters enroute to a commanding 43-point lead at 73-30 on a fastbreak layup by Perez.

The balanced scoring attack by the Filipinos was also evident in the 43-13 advantage in bench points.

The Filipinos limited the Qataris to only 21 percent shoting.

Qatar, which was led by Nedim Muslic’s 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals, will fall into the 5th-8th place classification phase.

The scores:

Philippines (80) — Fajardo 12, Perez 12, Oftana 11, Brownlee 9, Aguilar 9, Kouame 8, Alas 8, Tolentino 6, Thompson 3, Newsome 2, Ross 0, Lassiter 0.
Qatar (41) — Muslic 12, Ndoye 7, Ndao 5, Mousa 5, Lashin 4, Haracic 3, Advic 2, Dieng 2, Darwish 1, Talla 0, Hajar 0, Abdelbaset 0.
Quarterscores: 33-14, 57-23, 73-30, 80-41.