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Gilas Pilipinas prevails over Japan to barge into FIBA Asia final



One step closer to fulfilling the ultimate dream.

Gilas Pilipinas leaned on an outburst from Dondon Hontiveros as the team survived a pesky Japanese crew, 81-70 Friday and march to the gold medal round of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha, China.

The hotshot Hontiveros served an explosion which came at the perfect moment as he nailed 6-for-9 from three-point area to finish wifh 18 points and help the Philippines pull away in the second half from Japan.

Andray Blatche scored 22 points and hauled down 13 rebounds while Jayson Castro added 20 points and 7 assists to lead Gilas to the final where the squad faces host team China.

China dethroned then defending champion Iran in the other semi-final earlier, 70-57.

The Philippines struggled to pull away in the first half as Makoto Hiejima put on a dazzling show, scoring 22 points in the first two quarters alone as Japan gave Gilas fits.

It was still a back and forth tussle in the third quarter before 8 straight points by Castro, highlighted by two triples, made it 50-44 for Gilas.

Joji Takeuchi and Hiejima however, conspired for Japan as they scored the next 10 points to knot the count at 54 apiece heading into the final period.

A Hontiveros trey and a fastbreak layup from Castro opened the final frame, giving the Philippines a 59-54 cushion. From there it was a nip and tuck battle with Japan pulling within 65-69 after free throws by Takeuchi.

But Hontiveros sank two more treys down the stretch to make it 77-68 as Gilas averted disaster.

Japan out-rebounded Gilas 41-37 and had 23 more free throw attempts than the Philippine side. Gilas however relied on a hot 41.9 percent three-point clip.

Hiejima topscored for Japan with 28 points while Takeuchi added 18 points and 16 boards. Japan shall face Iran in the bronze medal match.


RDO to Blatche!

Dondon turning back the hands of time

The Blur with an up-and-under

The Scores:
Philippines (81) – Blatche 22, Castro 20, Hontiveros 18, De Ocampo 8, Abueva 6, Romeo 3, Pingris 2, Norwood 2, Ganuelas 0, Thoss 0.
Japan (70) – Hiejima 28, Takeuchi 18, Tabuse 9, Ota 5, Furukawa 4, Arao 3, Tanaka 2, Hashimoto 0, Ono 0, Matsui 0.
Quarterscores: 16-17, 39-39, 54-54, 81-70.


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