FIBA Asia: Philippines dismantles Kazakhstan to score semis berthBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines rode on a blazing start and dismantled Kazakhstan, 88-58, Friday night for a spot in the semifinals of the 27th FIBA Asia Men’s Championships.
The Filipinos face the winner of the South Korea-Qatar tiff, which is being played as of posting, in a knockout clash for a spot in the top two.
The best three in the tournament books a trip to Spain for the Basketball World Cup in 2014.
Gary David helped the Philippines inch closer to their goal.
David came out firing off the bench, canning three straight triples which set the tone for the Filipinos’ blistering shooting night, finishing with 13 triples.
The Philippines Basketball Association (PBA)’s scoring champion notched his best night of the tournament yet with 22 points.
“The first time we met Kazakhstan in a tune-up, that’s when my poor performance started, so I ended it tonight,” said David in Filipino.
Wary of any meltdowns, it was the Filipinos’ relentless defense which kept them ahead for good after a 32-13 start, and by as many as 31 markers.
The Philippines saw its lead dwindle down to six, 38-44, as the Kazakhs’ three-point shooting started to click, but this time — with better awareness — the Filipinos ended the half with a double-digit lead.
“The Philippines showed tonight a great basketball made on defense,” said Kazakhstan head coach Matteo Boniciolli.