FIBA World Cup

Edu, Abando turn heads as Gilas Pilipinas trips Iran in China tiff

Delfin Dioquino

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Edu, Abando turn heads as Gilas Pilipinas trips Iran in China tiff

PREP. Gilas Pilipinas gears up for the FIBA World Cup by joining the 2023 Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament.

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Facebook page

CJ Perez takes over in a key third quarter, while AJ Edu and Rhenz Abando turn in promising performances as Gilas Pilipinas triumphs despite a shorthanded lineup

MANILA, Philippines – Undermanned Gilas Pilipinas scored a convincing 76-65 win over Iran for a rousing start in its Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament campaign in China on Thursday, August 3.

CJ Perez took over in a key third quarter, while AJ Edu and Rhenz Abando turned in promising performances as the Filipinos triumphed despite missing Kai Sotto and Scottie Thompson and playing without a naturalized player.

Iran trailed by just a single possession early in the third frame, 41-44, before Abando followed up his own block with a breakaway dunk to give the Philippines a 46-41 lead and effectively opened the floodgates.

June Mar Fajardo scored back-to-back buckets and assisted on an Edu bucket in succession for a 52-41 cushion, while Perez scored all of his 7 points at the end of the period to give the Filipinos a sizable 59-46 lead.

Gilas Pilipinas’ advantage peaked at 69-47 off a Calvin Oftana three-point play – a lead big enough to ward off the Iranians’ last-ditch comeback.

Sidelined during the Filipinos’ European camp due to an ankle injury, Edu showcased his wares with 9 points and 9 rebounds, including a dunk with 20 seconds left that sealed the win.

Abando churned out 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks, Jamie Malonzo paced the Philippines with 11 points and 6 rebounds, while Dwight Ramos chimed in 10 points and 4 rebounds.

Oftana fired 10 points, 8 coming in the final salvo.

With the FIBA World Cup clock winding down, Gilas Pilipinas has yet to play with a complete roster as Sotto and Thompson stayed in the Philippines to recover from their respective injuries.

NBA player Jordan Clarkson is expected to link up with the national team soon, although he is in danger of missing the pocket tournament in China.

Up next for the Filipinos in the three-team tiff is Senegal on Friday, August 4. –

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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.