FIBA World Qualifiers 2018:
Disaster as Gilas falls to lowly Kazakhstan NT
FIBA World Qualifiers News 2018: It was a disaster for Philippine basketball as Gilas Pilipinas fell to lowly Kazakhstan NT, 92-88 in the continuation of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers this Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena. The unnerving defeat relegated RP Five to 4th place in Group F and in danger of elimination, losing to a mediocre squad with a four-game losing streak.
➤ Stanley Pringle led the losing Gilas with 29 points, while center Junemar Fajardo had 14 points and 13 caroms.
➤ The gamble of Coach Yeng Guiao to utilize an untested roster resulted to the shock loss, with the bigs being unable to defend well in the perimeter. It only highlighted the absence of dominant and mobile big man Andray Blatche, whom Guiao conspicuously left out of the roster. Blatche’s mobility would have given Kazakhstan nightmares. Also absent were Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario who are both serving their FIBA suspensions.
➤ Christian Stanhardinger is also set to replace Pringle as the lone naturalized player in the Pinoy lineup.
➤ Kazakhstan’s Alexander Zhigulin was virtually unstoppable from the three-point territory, converting 6 treys to finish with a total of 30 points, while Anton Bykov added 20 buckets and 9 boards.
➤ The Kazakhstan five is virtually the same squad whom the Pinoys handily beat time and again in countless international tourneys. Worst, they are missing the services of their star player Anton Ponomarev who reportedly begged-off to concentrate in professional basketball.
➤ The Philippine Basketball Team is now tied with Japan NT with identical 5-4 win-loss slate. They must win all their remaining games against Iran, Qatar, and Kazakhstan or risk getting booted out of the qualifiers.
➤ The Filipinos will next battle Iran NT for a do-or-die rematch on Monday, December 3.