MANILA, Philippines – Either Japan or Syria awaits Gilas Pilipinas in the playoffs of the FIBA Asia Cup.
Which team the Philippines will face in the qualification to the quarterfinals will be determined by the result of its last group stage game against New Zealand on Sunday, July 17.
The Filipinos will tangle with the Akatsuki Five if they lose to the Tall Blacks and finish third in Group D with a 1-2 record.
Starting the Asia Cup with a pair of blowout wins, Japan settled for second in Group C with a 2-1 card after a stunning 88-76 loss to Iran.
NBA player Yuta Watanabe put up 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Japanese, who found no answer for the big three of Hamed Haddadi, Behnam Yakhchali, and Mohammad Jamshidi.
Haddadi chalked up 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks, Yakhchali tallied 21 points and 5 rebounds, while Jamshidi chimed in 20 points as Iran clinched an outright quarterfinal berth with a 3-0 slate.
Meanwhile, a win over the Kiwis will pave the way for the Filipinos to land at second in Group D with a 2-1 record and set up a knockout match against the Syrians.
Syria secured third place in Group C with a 1-2 card after a 77-67 win over Kazakhstan, which went winless in three games.
Omar Cheikh Ali towed the Syrians to the next round with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while 7-foot-3 big man Abdulwahab Alhamwi dominated inside with 15 points and 16 rebounds. – Rappler.com