Gilas hands Iran first defeat

By Ivan Saldajeno

CHANGSHA--A second half storm was what Gilas Pilipinas needed to stun defending champion Iran, 87-73, in an early rematch of the FIBA Asia Championship final at the CSWC Dayun on Monday.

Trailing by as much as ten early into the third quarter, Gilas started the blitz with a 9-0 run by Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche later in the period to cut the gap to one, 46-47.

After an exchange of baskets, Terrence Romeo ignited another 10-3 run by Gilas that put the team up, 64-57, late in the third.

Iran tired to catch up, cutting the lead to four, 71-67, early in the fourth, but another 15-3 rally by Gilas sealed the win that ended Iran's unbeaten run dating back to the 2013 edition in Pasay.

Castro led Gilas with 26 points, two rebounds, three assists, and three steals, while Blatche, who appeared to be OK after suffering an ankle sprain in Sunday's win against Japan, added 18 markers, seven boards, one dime, two blocks, and four takeaways.

Bahrami had 21 points, two caroms, and an assist for Iran in a game where Hamed Haddadi was limited to ten points before fouling out.

Box Scores:

Philippines 87-Castro 26, Blatche 18, Romeo 15, Abueva 13, Norwood 5, De Ocampo 5, Hontiveros 3, Taulava 2, Pingris 0, Thoss 0, Intal 0, Rosser 0

Iran 73-Bahrami 21, Kamrani 11, Mashayekhi 11, Haddadi 10, Davari 9, Jamshidijafarabadi 7, Saberi 2, Karekani 2, Sahakian 0, Afagh 0, Yakhchalidehkordi 0

Quarterscores: 22-25, 37-43, 65-60, 87-73