Gilas beats Japan again in FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers

FIBA PHI vs JPN Feb 25. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

By Delfin Dioqiuno/rappler.com – Gilas Pilipinas remained composed in the endgame to repeat on Japan, 89-84, and end the second window of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on a high note at the Mall of Asia Arena Sunday, February 25.

Days after absorbing a crushing 68-84 loss to the Australia Boomers, the Philippine team showed composure down the stretch as they stymied Japan’s comeback attempt from down 14 points.

Gilas mounted an 85-71 lead, their biggest of the game, midway the 4th quarter before the Akatsuki Five ignited a 13-1 run, capped by back-to-back Daiki Tanaka fastbreak layups, to cut the deficit to two points with 31.5 seconds remaining, 84-86.

But Jayson Castro, who returned for duty after missing the Australia game Thursday, February 22, wouldn’t let Japan embarrass the Philippine team before their home crowd. He banked a shot away from Ira Brown’s outstretched arms for an 88-84 Gilas lead with 10.6 ticks left.

Japan had a chance to narrow the gap to one point but Tanaka’s 3-point attempt missed.

After scoring just 8 points against Australia, Andray Blatche made his presence felt against the Japanese, who remained winless in 4 games in the Asian Qualifiers, with 18 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists and two steals.

Troy Rosario finished with 14 points and 4 rebounds off the bench while Kiefer Ravena chipped in 13 points, 5 assists and two steals in the win.

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