Italy sends Gilas to FIBA World Cup lower bracket

Jordan Clarkson had a relatively steadier performance, but it was still not enough for Gilas. Kennelf Monteza
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Italy dashed out Gilas Pilipinas' first shot at outright Paris Olympics qualification after clinching a place in the FIBA World Cup Round of 16 with a 90-83 win on Tuesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Despite what seemed like a glimmer of hope at the start of the game, Gilas still bowed down to Italy in the end as they have been relegated to the lower bracket of the competition, that is, the classification games.

Needing to win by at least 12 points to clinch an upper bracket seat, Gilas looked poised to pull off such an upset as the team took a 23-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.

However, Italy responded with a 28-16 second quarter to go up, 48-39, at the half then stretched the lead to as high as 18, 78-60, with 8:27 left in the fourth period.

Gilas somehow closed the game strong, but it was only enough to cut Italy's lead to a respectable margin in the end.

While Jordan Clarkson prevailed over Simone Fontecchio in the scoring battle between Utah Jazz players, Fontecchio still got the last laugh as Italy joined the Dominican Republic in the Top 16 round.

Fontecchio led Italy with 18 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one steal, while Giampaolo Ricci added 14 points, two rebounds, and one assist.

Clarkson put up 23 markers, seven rebounds, six assists, and one steal for Gilas, which became the first host team to drop its first three games in the FIBA World Cup after Colombia also went 0-3 to start their home stand in the 1982 edition.

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