Gilas Pilipinas could not salvage a win in its second FIBA World Cup appearance in five years, ending its campaign with a disastrous 95-75 rout at the hands of Iran, Sunday at the Beijing Wukesong Sport Center in China.
The Philippines lost all five of its games, going a minus-147. Gilas can avoid being in last place in the 32-team meet if Japan loses to Montenegro by the more than 32 points, or if Jordan falls to Senegal by a margin greater than 15 points on Monday.
While Filipinos were mourning this campaign, Iran felt like it had won the World Cup, clinching Asia’s spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with the 20-point win. Because of their 20-point win over the Philippines and China’s 73-86 loss to Nigeria, Iran finished as a plus-7 to become the continent’s best team.
And it was all possible because of a nightmarish second quarter by Gilas.
After a strong first quarter by the Filipinos, the cold-shooting that had been plaguing the squad for the entire campaign showed up in the second stanza.
Gilas only knocked down three of its 12 attempts during that span, resulting in just eight points in the quarter. On the other hand, Iran returned to their old bullying ways, frustrating Gilas with their power.
With Gilas’ struggles on both ends, their once two-point lead eventually turned into a 29-point deficit late in the game. A blistering 11-3 run to start the third canto helped pave the way for the defeat.
Overall, Iran attempted 32 free throws on 27 Gilas fouls, while the Philippines only had 14 trips to the stripe.
Gilas’ frustrations reached a boiling point with 5:23 left when both Guiao and Blatche incurred back-to-back technical fouls.
“We started out… We hit our three-point shots early. But we ended up in foul trouble, giving up thirty-two while we only had fourteen. We couldn’t get fouls from the refs. That’s a big difference,” lamented head coach Yeng Guiao.
Five Iranians — all of the usual suspects — reached double-figures. Hammed Haddadi led the way with 19 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks.
Nik Kahmrani and Mohammed Jamshidi added 17 and 16 points, respectively, with the former going a solid 10-of-11 from the foul stripe. Behnam Yakhchali and Aaron Geramipor tallying 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Behind the will of Robert Bolick, Gilas tried to end their campaign strong, cutting the lead down to 18 in the waning minutes of the game.
“If you’re looking for something positive, that’s something we can look at. We knew they were playing hard in the endgame. They were trying to make the quotient. They were trying so hard that we needed to match their energy,” shared Guiao about what was possibly the team’s only silver-lining in the contest. “And the guys knew that too. If we were playing our last game, we needed to give our best effort. We were just playing hard in the endgame. They were trying to make the Olympics as well, I think.”
Bolick had a team-high 15 points, while June Mar Fajardo added 10 markers. Andray Blatche finished with 15 points, five rebounds, and five assists before fouling out of the game.
Up next for Gilas Pilipinas on the world stage is the hosting of the 2023 edition of the global meet. The preparation and the team for the event will begin immediately after this outing.
Philippines 75 – Bolick 15, Blatche 12, Fajardo 10, Perez 9, Pogoy 7, Norwood 6, Aguilar 5, Lee 3, Ravena 3, Barroca 2, Rosario 2, Almazan 1.
Iran 95 – Haddadi 19, Bahrami 17, Jamshidi 16, Yakhchalid 14, Geramipoor 12, Mashayekhi 6, Hassanzadeh 4, Mozafariyanani 4, Rostampour 3, Zangeneh 0.
Quarterscores: 24-30, 34-48, 50-75, 75-95.