Asian Games

Gilas Pilipinas survives massive Iran comeback, clinches 1st Asiad semis in 21 years

JR Isaga

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Gilas Pilipinas survives massive Iran comeback, clinches 1st Asiad semis in 21 years

DEBUT. Justin Brownlee plays his first game for Gilas Pilipinas.


Gilas Pilipinas rides Justin Brownlee's hot hands and denies Iran's massive comeback from 21 points down to clinch its first Asian Games semifinal berth since 2002

MANILA, Philippines – In a heart-stopper for the ages, Gilas Pilipinas clinched its first Asian Games semifinal berth in 21 years after arresting a massive Iran comeback, 84-83, at the Zhejiang University Zijingang Gymnasium in China, on Tuesday, October 3.

Justin Brownlee, after a planned 8-minute outing against Qatar, made the most of his rest time and exploded for 36 points, 16 coming in the first quarter and 15 in the third, built off 5-of-7 three-pointers, to go with 8 rebounds and 4 assists.

Leading by as many as 21 points in the third quarter, 62-41, and by 17 at the start of the fourth, 71-54, Gilas suffered a blindsiding 22-7 comeback by Iran, which cut the deficit to a single possession, 78-76, off a Mohammadsina Vahedi layup at the 3:35 mark.

Vahedi, on an otherworldly zone, followed up with a three in the last two minutes, before somehow pushing Iran ahead, 81-80, off free throws at the 1:33 mark.

Veterans Fajardo and Brownlee, however, stayed composed enough to chip in two clutch layups in the last minute of regulation, 84-83, as Iran inexplicably then let Gilas’ Chris Newsome run out the clock off its final foul to give.

Fajardo finished with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, as fellow PBA MVP Scottie Thompson added 11 points, 6 boards, and 2 dimes in the nail-biting finish.

Gilas now faces familiar foe China in the semifinals for a shot at a medal at 8 pm on Wednesday, October 4.

China drubbed South Korea, 84-70, in their own quarterfinal match.

The Scores

Philippines 84 – Brownlee 36, Fajardo 18, Thompson 11, Oftana 7, Perez 6, Kouame 4, Newsome 2, Alas 0, Tolentino 0, Aguilar 0.

Iran 83 – Vahedi 24, Rezaeifar 14, Mirzaeitalarposhti 12, Aghajanpour 11, Girgoorian 8, Mashayekhi 6, Kazemi 6, Pazirofteh 2, Shahrian Nasl 0, Gholizadeh Tousarani 0, Torabi 0.

Quarters: 28-22, 48-36, 71-54, 84-83.


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