Gilas Pilipinas dominated defending champion Iran, 87 to 73, in the continuation of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championships in Changsa, China. With another win over India tomorrow afternoon, the Nationals will finish the second round at the top spot of Group E.
The Philippine team were down by as much as 10 in the opening minutes of the third canto before outscoring Iran 28-13 to finish the quarter ahead by five.
Iran tried to keep in close in the fourth quarter, managing to pull within 71-67 with seven minutes to go. However, the team went scoreless for the next four minutes. By the time they managed to score again, Gilas Pilipinas had already established a double digit well.
Star point guard Jayson Castro (playing as Jason Williams in the tournament) led Gilas Pilipinas with 26 ponts, followed up by Andray Blatche’s 18 and Terrence Romeo’s 15.
This is Iran’s first loss in the tournament, having won their first four games by an average of almost 50 points. The team had previously defeated the Philippines in the finals of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships (hosted by Manila) and in the semifinals of the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup.
Implications of the win: The victory assures the Philippines of a top two finish in Group E, perhaps number one if they beat India tomorrow. In that case, Gilas Pilipinas will face either Qatar or Lebanon in the quarterfinals instead of China or South Korea.