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Iran catches fire late to beat gallant Gilas

Nikkhah Bahrami finished the job for Iran. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Iran got its bearings going in the final quarter to repulse Gilas Pilipinas, 81-73, in their FIBA World Cup Qualifiers match-up at the Azady Gym in Tehran on Thursday night.

The Iranians, who opted to sit out star center Hamed Haddadi for most of the game, took down Gilas in the period that matters the lot, outscoring the Philippine side, 18-8, in a span that lasted seven minutes and 10 seconds to pull away for good.

Nikkhah Bahrami made 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and one steal for Iran, which is now 6-1 in the qualifiers.

Sajjad Mashayekhi provided the early spark for Iran and finished with 19 markers, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals.

Chris Standhardinger dropped 30 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, and two steals for Gilas, which slipped to 4-3 despite putting up a gallant stand for most of the game.

No other Filipino scored in double digits with Alex Cabagnot the second best scorer with nine markers.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno