Lebanon blows PH 5 to pieces
The Fiba Asia Cup campaign that started in the most promising way for Gilas Pilipinas took another wicked turn for the worse on Saturday after the Filipinos were blown off the floor by host Lebanon, 106-87, at Nouhad Nawfal Stadium in Beirut.
Fadi El Khatib, one of the finest scorers the region has produced, torched the dumbfounded Filipinos with 36 points and helped the Lebanese bury the Philippines early in a hole so deep to cruise to the win.
Lebanon thus advanced to a clash with China for fifth place even as the Filipinos dropped into a game versus Jordan for seventh (ongoing at press time), which would mean the worst finish for the country in the last eight years.
It was the second blowout loss that the Filipinos took as their bid, which started with a 97-86 upset of the defending champion Chinese, will be remembered more for the ripping they suffered at the hands of old nemesis South Korea in the quarterfinals.
Team Philippines, because of that win over China, swept its preliminary round assignments to top Group B but just couldn’t get anything going when they faced the Koreans in the first round of the knockout stages.
The result was a 118-86 bamboozling on Friday as the Koreans drained a total of 16 triples to carve out the victory that added to another of those heart-rending defeats the Philippines has been taking from way back.
Australia, ranked 10th in the world and a newcomer in the tournament together with New Zealand, advanced to the gold medal game against 2013 champion Iran and Hamed Haddadi on Sunday.
Gilas’ next big tournament will be the World Cup Qualifying that starts in November.
The Filipinos will play games in Chinese Taipei, Japan and Australia in the first round. The games are scheduled on a home-and-away basis and will be played in November, February and July.
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