After being defeated by Gilas Pilipinas during the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, Kazakhstan came prepared when they once again faced the Philippine National Men’s Basketball team on Friday, Nov. 30, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City.
The visiting team improved to a 4-5 win-loss standing in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers after securing a 92-88 victory against the Philippine team.
The 30 points of Alexander Zhigulin, 18 of which came from the three-point line, along with the 20 points of Anton Bykov led Kazakhstan to their triumph.
An 11-point run allowed Gilas Pilipinas to grab an early six point advantage, 7-13, during the first quarter. However, Kazakhstan immediately recovered and reduced the home squad’s lead to one, 17-18, at the end of the period
Kazakhstan seized their biggest lead in the game, 38-30, during the second quarter but the efforts of Stanley Pringle and Scottie Thompson enabled the Philippine team to end the first half with the visitors only leading by one-point, 40-39.
With less than 30 seconds left in the game, Gilas Pilipinas still had the chance to grab the win since Kazakhstan was only up by two points, 90-88. A lay-up by Bykov in the last 12 seconds left in the game though proved to be the nail that sealed the second defeat of the Philippine team in their home country.
Pringle contributed 29 points and June Mar Fajardo finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds to pace the misfiring Philippine team, that only made eight of their 23 attempts over the arc.
Marcio Lassiter also provided 13 points for Gilas Pilipinas that tasted their fourth defeat out of nine games in the Asian Qualifiers.
The Philippine team now prepares to score an upset against Iran on Monday, Dec. 03, in order to maintain their chances in qualifying for the upcoming World Cup in China. The next game of Gilas Pilipinas will also happen at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.