Gilas rally falls short against Iran

Naveen Ganglani
Gilas rally falls short against Iran
Gilas has no answer for Hamed Haddadi as Iran comes away with the win

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine men’s national basketball team dropped to 3-2 in their 37th William Jones Cup campaign after falling to their rivals from Iran, 74-65, on Thursday, September 3, at the Xinchuang Gymnasium in Taipei.

Playing for the fifth straight time in as many days, Gilas was locked in a close battle with their opponents in the first half but allowed the Iranians to pull away in the third quarter.

(READ: Build your Gilas Pilipinas dream team)

The national squad managed to cut the deficit to 6 and 4 in different instances during the fourth quarter, but critical shots made by big man Hamed Haddadi kept Gilas at bay and eventually sealed the win for Iran, who improves to 5-1.

Veteran big man Asi Taulava led the way for the Philippine team with 12 points and 7 boards while spending most of the game trying to contain the production of Haddadi, who still wound up with 22 points, 14 boards, 3 assists, and 2 blocks.

JC Intal finished with 10 points off the bench – all in the fourth quarter – while Jayson Castro also put up the same amount of points. Terrence Romeo registered just 8 points on 2-of-5 shooting and hurt his ankle at the end of the third quarter.

Overall, Gilas shot 44% from the field but just 28% from downtown and was out-rebounded 42-32.

The Philippines looked like they were on the verge of a comeback when a jumper by Tautuaa and triple by Intal on the break trimmed the Iran lead to 65-61 with 3:41 remaining in the contest.

But off a time-out, Mohammad hit a 3-pointer that stopped the bleeding for the defending FIBA-Asia champions. After Ranidel De Ocampo and Romeo took turns misfiring on 3-balls that could have cut the lead back down to 4, Haddadi completed a dunk with 2:18 left that extended Iran’s lead to 70-61.

Gilas then went scoreless on their next two possessions, then Hassanzadeh hit a jumper to seal the victory.

Philippines will be back in action on Friday, September 4, when they battle with the Wellington Saints from New Zealand at 1 PM (Manila time). –

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