Philippines bounces back, pulls away in 4th to beat Qatar
Shots still didn’t fall for the Philippines but its defense more than made up for its offensive woes on Monday night.
Gilas Pilipinas tightened its defensive screws in the second half to frustrate Qatar and avoid a stunning upset with a comeback win in the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifers behind closed doors at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Filipinos, who redeemed themselves from an 81-73 loss to Iran on Thursday in Tehran, fought back from as high as 18 points down and it started with their full-court pressure.
The Nationals came out with a sense of urgency at the start of the third quarter after staring at a 13-point halftime deficit.
Anchored by a scrappy and crafty guard rotation of Alex Cabagnot, Stanley Pringle and Scottie Thompson on the defensive end, the Philippines got going and took the lead with Japeth Aguilar providing the offensive lift.
“First half was just really bad shoting percentage especially in the three points and to think these are the best shooters in the country. That’s really an aberration, really a hangover from the Iran game,” Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao said.
“The big difference was that theese guys really watned to win and they showed it with their commitment on defense,” Guiao added,
Aguilar finished with a team-high 16 points, including a jumper and a putback dunk for an 82-69 Gilas spread inside the final four minutes, that went with nine rebounds.
Cabagnot also scored 16 points while Pringle and Beau Belga added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Bruiser Mohd Yousuf Mohammed led the Qataris, who missed four key players due to injuries, with 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field.
Qatar disrupted the Philippines’ defensive schemes after going 7-of-13 from long range in the first two quarters. The Qataris, however, ended up missing all of their nine attempts from downtown in the second half.
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