FIBA Asia Cup

After thwarting Gilas Pilipinas, Lebanon stuns New Zealand in FIBA Asia Cup

Delfin Dioquino
After thwarting Gilas Pilipinas, Lebanon stuns New Zealand in FIBA Asia Cup

TOP SPOT. Wael Arakji and Lebanon seize solo first place in Group D.

FIBA

Lebanon gives Gilas Pilipinas a shot at getting a less dangerous foe in the knockout stage of the FIBA Asia Cup after a shocking win over New Zealand

MANILA, Philippines – Lebanon is pulling no punches.

The Cedars seized the solo lead in Group D of the FIBA Asia Cup after a stunning 86-72 win over New Zealand at the Istora Stadium in Indonesia on Friday, July 15.

One of the heroes in their 15-point win over Gilas Pilipinas, Wael Arakji delivered 25 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals as Lebanon hiked its record to 2-0.

The win pulled Lebanon closer to an outright quarterfinal berth, with the top team from each of the four groups advancing directly to the last eight.

Hayk Gyokchyan netted 19 points and 7 rebounds, while Jonathan Arledge had 18 points and 9 rebounds as the Cedars banked on the same suspects who took over against the Filipinos.

Fielding several of its young players, the Tall Blacks trailed by just 4 points through three quarters, 53-57, but got outscored 29-19 in the final frame.

Takiula Fahrensohn posted 21 points and 4 rebounds to lead New Zealand, which fell to 1-1 and dropped to a tie with the Philippines at second place.

Gilas Pilipinas and the Tall Blacks will dispute the second seed in Group D as they clash on Sunday, July 17, to wrap up the group stage.

The Lebanon win allowed the Filipinos a shot at getting a less dangerous foe in the knockout stage, with the winner of Philippines-New Zealand match facing the third seed from Group C, which will either be Kazakhstan or Syria.

Meanwhile, the loser will tangle with the Group C second seed, which will either be powerhouse Iran or Japan. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.