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How Gilas ended the "Persian Curse"

By Ivan Saldajeno

FOR the first time in five Asian Games or FIBA Asia Championship meetings, Gilas got the better of Iran in the second round of the latter on Monday. Let's take a look at that 87-73 beating.

Gilas shot pretty well against Iran, making 46.8% from the field compared to only 40.3% by Iran. Credit that to a second half explosion by Gilas, where the team outscored Iran, 50-30.

Using some advanced stats, Gilas made 54 percent eFG's and 57.9 percent true shooting, while Iran only had 48.5 and 49.6 percents respectively.

Gilas also bounced back from a possible disaster, that is, the second quarter. Gilas committed seven turnovers in the second quarter, and if not for a great interior defense, the team would have been down by big.

Speaking of interior defense, Andray Blatche bucked off an ankle injury suffered on Sunday night against Japan and turned Iran's paint as his territory. Iran only made 13 of 33 shots in the paint.

To further demonstrate that, Iran's behemoth, Hamed Haddadi, was limited to only ten points on nine shots with a -10, i.e., Gilas scored ten more points than Iran when he was on the floor. Haddadi only had a 46.5 percent true shooting clip (he was 4-of-9 from the field and 2-of-4 from the line).

For the part of Blatche, he had two blocks in 26:11 of play for a block rate of 7.1 percent.

Also take note that Haddadi, who, at least every time I watch him play, rarely gets fouled out, "graduated" from the game thanks to a silly technical foul, and that further lessened Iran's morale. Haddadi's usage rate is only 21 percent.

On the other hand, Jayson Castro was adjudged as the man of the match with 26 points. He had a 67.3 percent true shooting rate.

The key stat here, howevern is the steals. Gilas had 12 swipes the entire match for a 15.8 percent steal rate, while Iran only had five for a 6.6 percent rate.

Overall, Gilas had a 114.3 rating, i.e., number of points per 100 possessions, while Iran only had 95.9.

P.S.: The last time a Philippine team won over Iran in either of the two tourneys mentioned prior to Monday was in the 2010 Asian Games, while the last time it happened in a FIBA Asia Championship was in 1973. Talk about a "Persian Curse" snapped by Gilas here!

Follow the writer on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno