Thursday, October 1, 2015

Gilas Pilipinas defeats Lebanon to reach FIBA Asia 2015 semis (VIDEO)

2015 FIBA ASIA CHAMPIONSHIP: The Gilas Pilipinas, Philippine national men’s basketball team came moved a step closer to its Olympic dream after surviving Lebanon, 82-70, in the quarterfinals of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship Thursday at College of Social Work Dayun in Changsha, China.
Gilas Pilipinas defeats Lebanon to reach FIBA Asia 2015 semis (VIDEO)
Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche provided the firepower anew for Gilas Pilipinas in this win. Castro finished 24 points with while Blatche compiled 24 points and 17 boards for the Filipinos.
With the win, Gilas Pilipinas is now in the semifinals where they will face Japan. The Filipinos are also already assured of a spot in the Olympic wildcard tournament next year if ever it fails to win the FIBA Asia crown and an outright spot to the prestigious competition in Brazil next year.

Castro went on fire in the first quarter, scoring 12 points in the period alone. He and Blatche fueled Gilas Pilipinas’ scoring machine early as they

But Lebanon had its own weapons, with big men Mohammad Ali Haidar and Bassel Bawji making Gilas Pilipinas defense work.

The Filipinos held a 20-16 lead in the first quarter, and pushed it to as much as nine points in a couple of stretches in the second period.

But Lebanon, despite Blatche’s prowess and some contributions from Calvin Abueva and Terrence Romeo, kept close while the Filipinos, with the exception of Castro, struggled from downtown, only making four out of 17 attempts.

Despite that, Gilas Pilipinas still managed to grab a 37-32 edge at halftime.

Gilas Pilipinas finally opened up a double-digit spread, 46-34, with over four minutes left in the third period after a 7-0 run led by Castro, who scored 10 points in the period alone.

The Filipinos had some anxious moments when Blatche hurt his shoulder after a hard foul by Jay Youngblood. But the naturalized center seemed fine as he returned to action a few moments after the incident.

Despite several scares from Lebanon, Gilas Pilipinas still came away with a 57-49 lead heading into the final frame.

Buoyed by the support from the Chinese crowd, Lebanon continued to fight, with a bailout triple from Youngblood keeping them just down by four, 61-57.

But Gilas Pilipinas countered with a huge run ignited as Blatche kept on attacking and Romeo making one tough jumper for a 69-59 lead with 3:50 left.

Lebanon tried to stay close, hitting late triples. But timely baskets by Castro and Marc Pingris put the result away.

Philippines 82 - Castro/William 25, Blatche 24, Romeo 10, Pingris 8, Abueva 7, Norwood 5, de Ocampo 3, Hontiveros 0, Ganuelas 0, Thoss 0. 

Lebanon 70 - Haidar 18, Bawji 17, Youngblood 12, Abd 8, Arakji 8, Saoud 7, Akl 0. 

Quarters: 20-16, 37-32, 57-49, 82-70


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