FIBA World Qualifiers 2018:
Depleted Iran flattens Guiao-led Gilas, 78-70
FIBA World Qualifiers News 2018: A depleted Iran NT flattened the Gilas Pilipinas squad coached by Yeng Guiao, 78-70 in the fifth window of the 2018 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers this Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena. Gilas lost to a weakened Iranian five without its’ main stars Hamed Haddadi and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami.
➤ Iran’s Mohammad Jamshidi pummeled Gilas with 26 big buckets, with 20 coming off the 4th quarter combined with 7 assists while guard Behnam Yakhchali poured 21 points and 7 boards.
➤ The Filipinos squandered the sure chance to qualify for the World Cup as it fell to fourth place with a 5-5 slate, just below Japan. They need to win their two remaining games and hope that the Hayabusa Five loses at least a game to even out the rankings. Only the top-three teams will qualify for the FIBA Worlds and the Philippines may now need a miracle to advance.
➤ Home-court advantage did not work wonders for RP Five this time around, as Guiao’s system is yet to be proven effective in international tournaments. To sum it all up: Gilas was relegated to fifth place in the recent Asian Games with Jordan Clarkson in tow, lost to a mediocre Kazakhstan team without a legitimate star, and fell twice to an Iranian team that never fielded the behemoth Hamed Haddadi.
➤ If there was any consolation for Guiao, it was the extremely short preparation time of Gilas. This resulted to a disjointed team pitted against Asia’s powerhouse squads with less than a decade of team chemistry. However, Yeng could have opted to field-in the battle-tested Gilas five, but chose to play with an untested roster of mostly aging cagers instead.
➤ Compounding the Gilas hullabaloo was the preposterous exclusion of vital cog Andray Blatche. The former New Jersey Nets center would have terrorized Iran and Kazakhstan in the paint and be unstoppable from the perimeter. Blatche’s defense also would have been a lethal weapon for Gilas, but his unceremonial ejection from the roster proved fatal for the Filipinos.
➤ Meanwhile, Jayson Castro, who just back from FIBA suspension, powered Gilas with 19 markers and 5 caroms while Christian Standhardinger finished with 17 points and 8 boards.
➤ The Philippine basketball team will next face Qatar and Kazakhstan in the sixth window both in away games to continue Gilas’ journey in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.