Gilas Pilipinas 3×3 did not have the start it wanted in the main draw of the 2023 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup, suffering a close 11-14 loss to 12th-ranked Iran, Friday at the Singapore Sports Hub OCBC Square.
Iran had to go through Qualifying Draw D, beating Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Brunei to get to Pool D.
And the Iranians did not show any signs of fatigue against Gilas.
Fouls were the bane of the Filipinos in the contest, being assessed their seventh foul with 4:48 left while accumulating their 10th foul with 1:20 left. Having 10 fouls in a contest led to two free throws for the opponents plus ball possession.
It proved costly in the endgame.
The Philippines led 11-7 after an Almond Vosotros deuce with 1:33 remaining.
However, Piter Girgoorian was able to score on a drive and get a foul against Brandon Bates that led to two free throws, cutting the lead to just one.
A miss by Samboy de Leon from deep led to a Girgoorian drive to tie the game.
Misses by De Leon and Vosotros paved the way for a Behshad Arabzadeh bucket for the go-ahead with 15.3 seconds left.
A clearing violation gave the Philippines a chance to tie but Vosotros missed his free throw.
A Vosotros miss from the top of the arc led to two more free throws for Girgoorian to seal the win.
Girgoorian led Iran with seven points and 11 rebounds while Mohammadsina Vahedi added five points.
Gilas will need to win their game against Qatar to punch their ticket to the knockout playoffs on Sunday.
Bates paced the Philippines with five points while Vosotros added four.
Philippines 11 – Bates 5, Vosotros 4, Napoles 2, De Leon 0.
Iran 14 – Girgoorian 7, Vahedi 5, Arabzadeh 1, Vand 1.