Second half surge lifts Gilas over Qatar in closed-door encounter

Japeth Aguilar returned with a bang. Nikki Collantes
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Gilas Pilipinas went ablaze in the second half to bludgeon Qatar, 92-81, in a closed-door FIBA World Cup Qualifiers battle at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Monday night.

Despite once again struggling from beyond the arc which highlighted a slow first half that saw Qatar leading by as much as 17 in the second quarter, Gilas banked on its transition game and a better defensive showing in the final 20 minutes to clobber Qatar.

Japeth Aguilar expressed his return to the national team by making 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, nine rebounds, and one block for Gilas, which moved up to 5-3 in the standings, a full game ahead of Japan, which shocked Iran, 70-56, earlier Monday, in third place in Group F.

Alex Cabagnot also made 16 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Mohd Mohammed made 26 points, seven points, and five assists for Qatar, which fell to 2-6 after Gilas limited the team to only 12 points in the third quarter and 29 in the second half in total.

The scores:

PHILIPPINES 92 - Aguilar 16, Cabagnot 16, Pringle 13, Belga 11, Lee 8, Wright 6, Lassiter 5, Sangalang 5, Erram 4, Thompson 3, Taulava 3, Norwood 2.

QATAR 81 - Mohammed MY 26, Al-Rayes 17, Ngombo 17, Khalid 10, Mohammed MH 4, Abdelbaset 3, Gueye 3, Abdelhaleem 1, Avdic 0, Lashin 0.

Quarterscores: 15-26, 39-52, 67-64, 92-81.

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