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Abarrientos scorches late as Gilas stuns Iran in FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup qualifiers

RJ Abarrientos showed heart despite the ankle injury. FIBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Injured ankle and all, RJ Abarrientos still showed how it's done in crunch time.

Abarrientos fired crucial deuces down the stretch—four in total—as Gilas Pilipinas turned back Iran, 21-19, in the qualifying round of the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in Changsha on Thursday.

Having to play with only three men as Ricci Rivero opted to rest his own injured ankle he suffered during Day 1 on Wednesday, Abarrientos hurt his ankle when he stepped on an Iranian defender while taking a two-pointer.

The shot went in, and Abarrientos eventually completed the three-point play off the landing spot foul.

But that was only the start.

The incoming Far Eastern University guard took over, draining one deuce after another, including another eventual three-point play.

He finished off Iran with a long tom that rolled on the rim first before going in.

Abarrientos finished with 18 points to lead Gilas, which won for the first time in the qualifiers after going 0-2 in Day 1, which included a shocking 11-14 loss to Thailand.

Gilas will play Samoa in possibly the final game of its campaign at 12:20 p.m. Thursday.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno