Exactly 106 days after being handed an embarrassing loss, Kazakhstan exacted vengeance on Gilas Pilipinas, silencing the home team and its crowd with a 92-88 victory, Friday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
With the loss, the Philippines dropped to a 5-4 record in Group F of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers. Gilas is now tied with Japan, who blasted Qatar on its home floor, 85-47.
Gilas beat the same team during the Asian Games, 96-59, last August 16. But Alexandr Zhigulin did not allow a repeat; the 6-foot-8 Kazakh finishing with 30 points – 24.2 points higher than his average in the tourney.
In the final frame, it was the 24-year-old Zhigulin who provided the heartbreak for Gilas.
With Gilas picking up a 79-76 lead with 4:06 left courtesy of buckets from June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, and Stanley Pringle, the hot-shooting big man was able to convert two free throws seconds later.
Then after Norwood was called for an offensive foul on the other end, Zhigulin knocked down a fadeaway jumper to knot things up.
Though LA Tenorio was able to score a much-needed bucket, Kazakhstan was simply too hot. Rustam Yergali knocked down the go-ahead triple with 2:17 left.
Stanley Pringle – who had 18 points against the same team during the Asiad – tried to will Gilas back, but the Kazakhs’ precise free throw shooting bucked Gilas’ rallies. A beautiful find by Yergali to a cutting Anton Bykov served as the dagger with 12.7 ticks remaining.
Pringle tallied a team-high 29 points but needed 23 attempts. He also tallied four assists and three boards.
Fajardo notched a triple-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Marcio Lassiter chipped in 13 points built on three triples.
Kazakhstan kept its top four hopes alive with the win, raising its slate to 4-5.
Bykov, Kazakhstan’s skipper, had 20 points and nine rebounds as well. Kazakhstan had 12 triples in the game while going 24-of-34 from the foul stripe.
Gilas next face Iran on Sunday, December 3 still at the same venue. Kazakhstan will head to Toyama City to take on Japan on the same day.
Kazakstan 92 — Zhigulin 30, Bykov 20, Yergali 12, Murzagaliyev 11, Kuanov 8, Bazhin 7, Marchuk 4, Chsherbak 0, Lapchenko 0, Gavrilov 0.
Philippines 88 — Pringle 29, Fajardo 14, Lassiter 13, Tenorio 8, Norwood 7, Thompson 6, Wright 5, Aguilar 4, Erram 2, Cabagnot 0, Belga 0, Slaughter 0.
Quarterscores: 17-18, 40-39, 65-62, 92-88.