Gilas avoids Korea tiff, seals q’final clash with Lebanese
CHANGSHA CITY, China—Gilas Pilipinas is not seeing its many-time tormentor South Korea in the Final Four picture of the Fiba Asia Olym-pic Qualifier, and the Filipinos have the Qataris to thank for that.
This developed late on Monday night after the Qataris tripped the Koreans, 69-63, and moved closer to the No. 2 ranking in their merged group while sending their victims on a collision course with defending champion Iran in the quarterfinals.
The Filipinos sealed top seeding in Group F after an awe-inspiring 99-65 victory over India on Tuesday afternoon, and will clash next with Lebanon for a place in the Final Four, possibly against the Qataris themselves.
Still playing China at press time, Qatar could still make it as No. 2 behind the Chinese in their group even if powerhouse Korea defeats Kazakhstan.
Both Qatar and Korea would end up with 3-2 records but the former will gain the No. 2 spot because of the winner-over-the-other rule.
Qatar next battles Japan in the quarterfinals, with the winner the potential foe of the Filipinos in the semifinals.
Gilas’ epic 87-73 conquest of the Iranians on Monday left the road to the gold-medal match bumpier for the defending champions. Iran would have to contend with the Koreans in the quarterfinals and then most possibly with the host Chinese in the Final Four.
China, with Yi Jianlian and the upcoming Zhuo Qi leading the way, will battle India in the quarterfinals.
India, whose swingman Amjyot Singh leads everyone in scoring with an average of 25.4 points, will still end up with the No. 4 rank despite the loss to the Filipinos.
Palestine, the team that authored the first upset of the tournament when it downed Gilas, 75-73 on Wednesday last week, bowed out of contention even after ending up tied with the Indians at 2-3. It bowed to India earlier in the week.
The Palestinians have gone without a win after topping Group B play undefeated.
Originally posted: 09:17 AM September 29th, 2015