Already backed by a hostile crowd inside the Azady Gym, Iran was able to impose its physical-style of play on Gilas Pilipinas, Thursday evening.
And it resulted in two players from the Philippine side getting bloodied up.
The first casualty was Beau Belga.
The burly bruiser was hit by an inadvertent slap to the nose by Nik Khahbahrami with 1:02 left in the first half. Belga came out with a bloody nose.
In the ensuing quarter, it was Marcio Lassiter who was cut.
Early in the third canto, Lassiter collided with a tough screen courtesy of Arsalan Kazemi. Though an offensive foul was slapped on the Iranian, the hard pick gave Lassiter a cut on his eyebrow – a boxer’s cut.
Kazemi even tried to confront Lassiter afterwards, even if the Filipino was being attended to by the team’s physician.
Both players were able to return to the game, with Belga finishing with seven points while Lassiter chipped in four points. The former went just 2-for-7 from the field, while the latter shot just 1-of-9 and was 1-of-7 from distance.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed. And for this batch of Gilas players, they now know what to expect the rest of the way.