An early lead did not prevent the Philippine National Men’s Basketball team from suffering a 78-70 loss against Kazakhstan on Monday, Dec. 03, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City.
Mohammad Jamshidijafarabadi scored 26 points and Benham Yakhchalidehkordi added 21 points as Iran handed Gilas Pilipinas its second straight defeat in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Throughout the first half, the Philippine team had control of the game, but Iran slowly trimmed the point difference and grab a two point lead, 44-42, in the middle of the third quarter.
However, five straight points from the returning Jayson Castro allowed Gilas Pilipinas to once again seized the lead, 44-47. The crowd even cheered as June Mar Fajardo made the lay-up that brought back the Philippine team’s lead to four points, 51-47.
In the fourth quarter, a three-point shot from Beau Belga widened the lead of Gilas to eight points, 60-52, their biggest in the game. However, Iran made an eight-point run to tie the score, 60-all.
With less than a minute left in the game, Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi scored the two pointer that gave the visiting team their one-point lead, 71-70. Gilas Pilipinas made several attempts to once again seize the flow but all their shots missed the target.
The bench of Iran started cheering in the last 30 seconds of the game after Gilas Pilipinas committed two turnovers, which allowed the visiting squad to widen the score gap by eight points and secure the victory.
Castro paced the Philippine team with his 19 points while Christian Standhardinger added 17 points. Marcio Lassiter also delivered 12 points, nine of which came from beyond the three point line, for the home team.
Due to this loss, the Philippines dropped to a 5-5 win-loss record and to fourth place in Group F.
In the next window of the Asia Qualifiers set in February 2019, Gilas Pilipinas will travel to Qatar and Kazakhstan to face the national basketball teams of the two countries.
Only the top three teams in Group F will qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup that will happen in China.