FIBA: Gilas Pilipinas dominates Qatar to keep World Cup hopes alive
Paul Lintag on Feb 22, 2019 01:47 AM
In his return to Gilas, Andray Blatche flirted wit ha triple-double and the Philippines dominated Qatar for a crucial win in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. (FIBA)
The first hurdle of a treacherous road back to the FIBA World Cup has been cleared by Gilas Pilipinas.
The Philippines finally got some traction from deep Thursday at the Al-Gharafa Sports Club Multi-purpose Hall in Doha [Friday in Manila], scoring a crucial 84-46 win over Qatar in Group F play of the 2019 Asian Qualifiers.
Gilas arrested a two-game slide to start the 6th and final window of the Asian Qualifiers, improving to 6-5 in the standings.
That’s enough for the national team to keep its World Cup hopes alive even if Gilas still trails both Japan and Iran in Group F.
Japan beat Iran earlier for a seven-game run and both teams are tied with identical 7-4 cards. The Japanese hold the tiebreaker.
Against Qatar on the road, Gilas was backed by a pro-Pinoy crowd and the national team finally shot well enough from beyond the arc.
The Philippines started the second half with four straight triples from Paul Lee and Andray Blatche, breaking the game wide open in favor of Gilas.
With 11 makes from distance after just three quarters, Gilas Pilipinas had its best shooting performance in these Asian Qualifiers and the Philippines turned a 31-21 lead into a 62-30 blowout.
With the decision never in doubt, Gilas continued the barrage in the fourth to put the finishing touches in the big win.
WELCOME BACK ANDRAY
In his return to Gilas following suspension, Andray Blatche played probably his best game in these Asian Qualifiers.
Blatche was an effective all-around weapon for the national team, finishing with 17 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and two blocks.
His activity allowed the rest of the locals to shine as four other players scored in double figures. Marcio Lassiter was a perfect 4-of-4 from deep for 14 points while Paul Lee drilled three triples of his own for 13 markers.
Jayson Castro set the tone early for Gilas and had seven points in the opening period. The Blur ended up with 11 points and four assists in 20 minutes.
SHOOT THAT BALL
In its penultimate game of the Asian Qualifiers, Gilas finally had its best shooting night in the six windows of the tournament.
The Philippines shot 15/30 from deep and 26/57 overall. Seven players connected from deep and four made at least two.
Gilas head to Astana next to face Kazakhstan on Suunday to complete the Asian Qualifiers. Depending on the results of Group E games, the Philippines can now actually afford a split though a sweep remains the best option for the national team to advance.
Kazakhstan lost to Australia in its first game of the 6th window.
For Qatar, they end the tournament against the visiting Japenase. Qatar got 10 points from Erfan Ali Saeed in the loss to Gilas.
Philippines (84) - Blatche 17, Lassiter 14, Lee 13, Castro 11, Aguilar 10, Barroca 7, Erram 7, Rosario 4, Norwood 2, Ravena 0, Thompson 0, Fajardo 0.
Qatar (46) - Saeed 10, Elhadary 7, Fouda 6, Gueye 5, Khalid 5, Al-Rayes 3, Muslic 3, Abdelhaleem 2, Mohmedd 2, Mujkic 2, Avdic 1, Al-Darwish 0.
Quarters: 15-11, 31-21, 62-30, 84-46.
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