Gilas Pilipinas falls to Iran anew, goes 0-2 at home
Gilas Pilipinas faltered when it mattered most and dropped a 70-78 decision to Iran in the fifth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian qualifiers Monday night before a stunned crowd at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Filipinos took an eight point lead in the fourth quarter but it only set up a spirited comeback from the Iranians led by their prolific swingman Mohammad Jamshidi.
It was a heartbreaking and costly loss for the Philippines, which slipped to fourth place in Group F after going 0-2 at home following a stunning loss to Kazakhstan last Friday.
Jayson Castro led Gilas Pilipinas with 19 points in just his first game back after serving a three-game suspension for his involvement in the brawl with Australia last July while Christian Standhardinger added 17 points and eight rebounds.
Jamshidi, who is no stranger to playing in Manila after playing for the Meralco Bolts as an import back in 2016, led all scorers with 26 points, most of which coming after Iran trailed, 52-60.
Gilas, which blew a golden opportunity to force a three-way tie with Iran and Japan in second place, was up, 70-69, after June Mar Fajardo followed up a miss by Castro with 1:05 remaining.
But the Iranians, who beat the Philippines, 81-73, in Tehran three months ago, kept their composure and ended the game on a 9-0 run.