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2021 FIBA Asia Cup

FIBA: Gilas bow to Lebanon to open Asia Cup campaign


It was a case of too little, too late for Gilas Pilipinas Men.

Despite a late rally powered by Carl Tamayo, the Philippines fell to Lebanon, 95-80, to open their 2021 FIBA Asia Cup campaign, Wednesday evening at Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Down 21 heading into the final frame, head coach Chot Reyes fielded an unusual five in Poy Erram, Carl Tamayo, William Navarro, and SJ Belangel.

The gamble worked as Gilas went on a 16-5 run that saw Tamayo score seven points with an array of shots while Belangel put up an and-one to cut the lead down to nine, 83-74, with 4:42 remaining.

However, the sweet-shooting big men of Lebanon, namely Hayk Gyokchyan and Jonathan Arledge, restored order. The duo doused Gilas’ fiery rally while anchoring Lebanon’s defense.

Lebanon only allowed six points in the final four minutes of the game while Arledge nailed the dagger trey with 50 seconds left.

Both Arledge and Gyokchyan got 19 points each for Lebanon with the former knocking down two triples while the latter went 4-of-5 from deep. The two also combined for 14 rebounds.

2022-FIBA-Asia-Cup-Gilas-vs-Lebanon-Hayk-Gyokchyan FIBA: Gilas bow to Lebanon to open Asia Cup campaign 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

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Six-foot-four point guard Wael Arakji led the way for Lebanon with 20 points.

“Unfortunate that the result turned out this way,” said Reyes. “I thought we made a great run, we never quit when we were down by almost 20 points in the fourth. We made a great run within single digits midway through the fourth quarter.

“But the spread, the buffer they got in the third quarter when they were hitting all those three-pointers was just too much for us to overcome. Plus our turnovers, we gave them 21 points. We were to cut that down and make it a much closer program,” he continued.

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With the win, Lebanon shared leadership of Group D with the Tall Blacks, who earlier routed India 100-47.

The top team in the Pool will automatically advance to the quarterfinals while the second and third-ranked teams will figure in the crossover playoffs against Group C.

SJ Belangel paced the Philippines with 17 points while Bobby Ray Parks and Tamayo both had 15 points apiece.

2022-FIBA-Asia-Cup-Gilas-vs-Lebanon-Bobby-Ray-Parks-Jr. FIBA: Gilas bow to Lebanon to open Asia Cup campaign 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

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“For us, it’s a great learning experience. We have a very young team here. For them to experience this high-level competition, that’s the most important thing,” said Reyes.

A scary moment though happened with 1:15 left in the second quarter as Thirdy Ravena suffered a hard fall after challenging Arakji’s attempt. Though Ravena had to be wheelchaired out of the game, he still returned in the second half.

Ravena finished the game with 10 points, six rebounds, and two assists in 23 minutes played.

2022-FIBA-Asia-Cup-Gilas-vs-Lebanon-Thirdy-Ravena-2 FIBA: Gilas bow to Lebanon to open Asia Cup campaign 2021 FIBA Asia Cup Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news

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“Thirdy said that he was okay so he was willing to give it a try. He warmed up at halftime so we said let’s give it a go,” said Reyes.

Gilas will next face India on Friday at 4:00 PM while Lebanon takes on New Zealand later in the day at 9:00 PM.

The Scores:

Philippines 80 – Belangel 17, Parks 15, Tamayo 15, T. Ravena 10, Chiu 6, K. Ravena 5, Erram 4, Abando 4, Navarro 4, Abarrientos 0, Quiambao 0.

Lebanon 95 – Arakji 20, Arledge 19, Gyokchyan 19, Darwich 10, Khayat 7, Chamoun 6, Hadidian 6, Ezzedine 5, Mansour 3, Mehzer 0, Zeinoun 0.

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Quarterscores: 27-22, 39-46, 58-79, 80-95.

Catch Gilas’ games in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup live on GigaPlay. Download it now on Android or IOS.

Highlights of the games will also be on SMART Sports.

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