Gilas Pilipinas falls to Lebanon in Fiba Asia Cup opener
MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas fought its way back from a 22-point deficit in the fourth quarter but still fell short to Lebanon, 95-80, in the 2022 Fiba Asia Cup on Wednesday at Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
When Yousef Khayat tallied Lebanon’s biggest lead, 22 points, 82-60, with 8:18 remaining, Carl Tamayo refused to give up and scored seven of the Filipinos’ 11 straight points to cut the deficit to 82-71 at the 5:26 mark.
SJ Belangel then capped the 14-1 run with a three-point play to trim it down to just nine, 83-74, with 4:42 to play.
However, Hayk Gyokchan stopped the bleeding for the Lebanese with an and-one, followed by another three-point play from Wael Arakji for an 89-75 breather with 1:50 to go. Jonathan Arledge nailed the dagger three in the final 50-second mark.
“Unfortunate that the result turned out this way. But I thought we made a great run. We never quit, even when we were down by almost 20 points in the fourth,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes shortly after the match.
“We made a great run to get within single digits midway through the fourth quarter. But the spread, the buffer that they got in the third quarter when they were hitting all those three-point shots was just too much for us to overcome.”
Arakji led Lebanon with 20 points and four assists. Gyokchyan had 19 points, eight rebounds, and two rebounds, while Arledge also scored 19 to go with six boards, two blocks, and two steals as they joined fellow opening day winner New Zealand, which blasted India, 100-47, on top of Group D.
The Filipinos try to bounce back against India on Friday at 4 p.m. (Manila time).
“For us, it’s a great learning experience. We have a very young team here, and for them to be able to experience this kind of very high-level competition, I think that’s the most important thing,” Reyes said.
Belangel scored nine of his team-high 17 points in the first quarter, hitting two-of-two from deep to give Gilas a 27-22 lead after the opening period before the Lebanese limited them to 12 points in the second frame and pulled away in the third.
Bobby Ray Parks Jr. was also instrumental for the Philippines with 15 points off four triples and four rebounds, while Tamayo posted 15 markers, six boards, three blocks, three assists, and a steal.
— 🏀 FIBA Asia Cup (@FIBAAsiaCup) July 13, 2022
Thirdy Ravena also suffered a cut on his right eyebrow after a bad fall with 1:15 to go in the second quarter and got wheeled off the court. But he still played in the second half and finished with 10 points, five rebounds, and two assists.
Only the top team from each group will earn an outright quarterfinals berth, leaving the second and third seed squads in a crossover match against Nos.2 and 3 of Pool C.
LEBANON 95 — Arakji 20, Arledge 19, Gyokchan 19, El Darwich 10, Khayat 7, Chamoun 6, Hadidian 6, Ezzedine 5, Mansour 3, Mezher 0, Zeinoun 0.
PHILIPPINES 80 — Belangel 17, Parks 15, Tamayo 15, T. Ravena 10, Chiu 6, K. Ravena 5, Navarro 4, Erram 4, Abando 4, Quiambao 0, Abarrientos 0.
Quarters: 22-27, 46-39, 79-58, 95-80.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.