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Gilas barges through FIBA WC with rout at Kazakhstan; Lebanon loss vs. SoKor

Thirdy Ravena and Mark Barroca celebrate after Gilas finally breaches to the FIBA World Cup. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—After a demoralizing 0-2 stint in the fifth window, Gilas Pilipinas is heading to the FIBA World Cup after all.

Gilas booked the much coveted seat to the said global tournament with a 93-75 rout at Kazakhstan coupled by an 84-72 win by South Korea at Lebanon early Monday (Philippine Time).

At the Republican Velodrome in Astana, Andray Blatche prevailed over Anthony Clemmons in the battle of naturalized players and Gilas avenged its Window 5 defeat to Kazakhstan in style.

Gilas erupted for 26 points in the third quarter behind the late surge of Jayson Castro before limiting Kazakhstan to just 15 in the final frame to close out the game.

Blatche, despite being hobbled by foul trouble, finished with 41 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and four steals for Gilas, which will enter the WC as the best fourth placer following Japan's 96-48 blowout at Qatar.

Castro added 15 points, going 4-for-4 from long range, three rebounds, and one assist off the bench.

Junemar Fajardo, who has been feeling under the weather all window long, showed that he can still deliver, contributing nine points, seven rebounds, and one assist in 12 and a half minutes of play while frustrating the Kazakhstan frontline.

Clemmons put up 27 points, four rebounds, nine assists, four steals, and one block while carrying the fight for Kazakhstan in the end, but the locals lost steam at crunch time.

At the Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Zouk Mikael, South Korea stifled Lebanon in the final quarter, only conceding eight points, and eventually knocked the latter out of contention, giving Jordan, which owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Lebanon, a free pass to the World Cup.

Jordan even put the exclamation point with an 86-80 upset against New Zealand at home.

The scores:

Philippines 93 - Blatche 41, Castro 15, Fajardo 9, Lee 8, Lassiter 8, Rosario 4, Aguilar 4, Barroca 2, Pogoy 2, Norwood 0, Erram 0, Ravena 0.

Kazakhstan 75 - Clemmons 27, Gavrilov 12, Yergali 11, Zhigulin 8, Murzagaliyev 8, Madekin 4, Bazhin 3, Bykov 2, Aitkali 0, Kuanov 0.

Quarterscores: 22-21, 45-40, 71-60, 93-75

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno