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Gilas bow down to Qatar in Asiad quarterfinal opener

By Ivan Saldajeno

A huge third quarter start by Qatar kept the team undefeated at the start of its Asian Games playoff campaign against Gilas Pilipinas, 77-68, in Incheon, South Korea.

A 15-0 blast behind five three-pointers put the Qataris up by double digits early in the third before holding off the Filipinos' gallant efforts in the end.

Qatar actually forced Gilas to a cold start, limiting the Philippine contingent to only a point in the first four minutes of the match.

Gilas began to get its scoring going and tied the game, 19-all, after the first quarter.

Gilas then opened the second quarter on an 8-0 run capped by two triples from Paul Lee to open a 27-19 advantage.

The Filipinos held off the Qataris' mini-runs the rest of the second quarter before conceding four straight points at the end of the period to cut their lead to three, 39-36, at the half.

But Qatar's five consecutive three-pointers rocked Gilas to start the third period.

Gary David finally put Gilas on the board for the second half with two free throws followed by a split from Lee.

But Mansour El-Hadary continued Qatar's onslaught with an and-one play to reopen the 12-point cushion, 54-42.

Jimmy Alapag, however, fired three-pointers to cut Qatar's lead at the end of the third period, 56-51.

After an exchange of baskets to start the payoff period, Marc Pingris scored four straight markers to draw Gilas closer, 59-63.

But five straight Qatari points increased their lead once again to nine, 68-59, with 4:42 left.

The Filipinos responded with another 6-2 mini run to cut their opponents' lead to five again, 70-65, with 3:32 left.

But four straight points from inside by Qatar sealed its third straight win to put the team at a good chance of nailing a semifinal berth.

Gilas, on the other hand, slipped to its second straight loss following an opening day win against India.

Gilas now needs to win its last two games against South Korea and Kazakhstan to have a chance of making the semis.
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