Preview: Gilas Pilipinas vs Iran
MANILA, Philippines -- Last night, Gilas Pilipinas played ghost slayer as the team slew the ghosts of Koreans past. It marked the first time a Philippine national basketball team has beaten South Korea at the senior level of FIBA Asia/ABC competition in modern times.
And as its reward, Gilas earned tickets to Spain for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. This is the first time the Philippines has qualified for the World Championships since winning the 1985 ABC title and the first time we will ACTUALLY play since 1978. We didn't play in the 1986 World Championships because, well, check your history books, boys and girls, that WAS a significant year after all.
Tonight, the stage is set for Gilas to add another milestone to its already historic run -- snaring the 27th FIBA Asia Men's Championship crown.
But who stands in the way?
Oh, just Team Iran -- the only undefeated team among the lot and a team that beats its foes by an average of nearly 35 points. Iran has the player leading the league in field goal shooting (Asghar Kardoust at around 74%), arguably the continent's best all-around playmaker in Mahdi Kamrani (he is the tournament leader in assists and steals), and undoubtedly the tournament's best player in Hamed Haddadi.
Needless to say, if ever our guys pull off this win, it won't be a cakewalk.
Not by a long shot.
For all the marbles: PHILIPPINES vs IRAN
The Philippines will win because they are playing at home, they are riding high from last night's win, and their guards are going to be awesome. There is no other way.
Without Marcus Douthit, Gilas will have to rely on the expected HUGE crowd to, once again, give them a tremendous lift, and, hopefully, make the Iranians tremble in their shoes. The boys have to continue playing off of the emotions from beating Korea, and lay everything out just like last night's game. And our guards will have to be at their very best. The threes have to fall, the penetration has to be strong, and the turnovers have to be minimal, if not non-existent.
Iran will win because the Iranians have just been so dominant from day one. Again, these guys beat their opponents by an average of nearly 35 points. A couple of teams have given them fits, like Korea and Taiwan, but no team has really been able to stick with them for the entire 40 minutes.
They have the perfect combination of size, speed, and shooting. They have consistently played high-level two-way basketball. When they were down 9 early against the Taiwanese, they didn't flinch. They didn't get rattled. These guys are the toughest team out there -- physically and mentally. Haddadi, Kamrani, and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami, Iran's big three, are practically unstoppable when they click, too. Needless to say, they have the inside track in this match-up.
Make no mistake, this is a bona fide David-Goliath affair, and, surprise, we are David. It's going to take a minor miracle for our boys to pull out this stunner, but, hey, in this game, anything is possible. I want Gilas to win, naturally, but, objectively speaking, Iran is a clear 70-30 favorite. - Rappler.com