Gilas collapses, falls to Iranians

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas suffered a massive breakdown down the stretch to yield a frustrating 70-78 decision against an undermanned Iran squad to go winless at home in the fifth window of the Asian qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena Monday night.

After leading by as many as eight points in the final quarter, the Nationals succumbed to the Iranians behind Mohammad Jamshidijafarabadi and Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi, who led the visiting squad with 26 and 21 points, respectively.

Gilas had some chances to win in the closing minutes but wasted them with turnovers and offensive lapses.

Iran went home with the gutsy win despite losing the services of perennial leaders Hamed Haddadi and Nikkhah Bahrami.

Jayson Castro topscored for the Filipinos with 19 points while orchestrating some key plays. Christian Standhandinger chipped in 17 points while Marcio Lassiter had 12.

Gilas entered the match looking for redemption following a similarly frustrating 88-92 loss to Kazakhstan last Friday. They are likewise eyeing payback from Iran after a 73-81 setback against the Asian powerhouse in Tehran last September.

Monday night’s loss sent the Philippines to fourth place in Group F with a 5-5 win-loss slate. The Nationals. will play Qatar and Kazakhstan in the sixth window of the qualifiers in February next year.

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