FIBA Asia Cup

Gilas Pilipinas’ comeback falls short as Lebanon shows poise in FIBA Asia Cup

Delfin Dioquino

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Gilas Pilipinas’ comeback falls short as Lebanon shows poise in FIBA Asia Cup

COMEBACK. Ray Parks delivers in his Gilas Pilipinas' return, albeit in a tough loss to Lebanon.


Buried by as deep as 22 points, Gilas Pilipinas storms back and gets within single digits only to witness Lebanon show composure down the stretch

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas’ deficit proved too big to overcome.

The Philippines ran out of gas in its fourth-quarter comeback as it opened its FIBA Asia Cup campaign with a 95-80 loss to Lebanon at the Istora Stadium in Indonesia on Wednesday, July 13.

Buried by as deep as 22 points, the Filipinos stormed back and got within single digits behind SJ Belangel and Carl Tamayo only to witness the Lebanese show composure down the stretch.

Wael Arakji powered Lebanon with 20 points and 4 assists, while Hayk Gyokchyan delivered 19 points and 8 rebounds as they steadied the Lebanon ship amid the Philippines storm.

Tamayo unloaded 7 of his 15 points and Belangel completed an and-one opportunity in a 14-1 run that sliced their 60-82 deficit to just 9 points with less than five minutes left.

But Gyokchyan and Arakji scored back-to-back three-point plays as the Cedars cruised to the convincing win, which tied them at the top spot of Group D alongside New Zealand.

“I thought we made a great run. We never quit even we were down by [22] points in the fourth,” said Philippine head coach Chot Reyes.

Belangel topscored in the loss with 17 points on top of 3 assists and 2 steals, while Ray Parks tallied 15 points on a 4-of-7 clip from three-point range in his national team return.

Parks started the third frame with a pair of treys to pull the Filipinos within striking distance, 45-49, but Gyokchyan sank three straight triples late as the Lebanese ended the period up 79-58.

Thirdy Ravena also finished in double figures for Gilas Pilipinas with 10 points and 5 rebounds, bucking a nasty fall in the second quarter that opened a gash above his right eye.

The younger Ravena went for a block but inadvertently got undercut by Arakji and fell face first, prompting medical personnel to wheel him out of the court.

Lebanon also got 19 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals from naturalized big man Jonathan Arledge.

Gilas Pilipinas looks to avoid slipping to solo last place in Group D when it tangles with India (0-1) on Friday, July 15.

The Scores

Lebanon 95 – Arakji 20, Arledge 19, Gyokchyan 19, Darwich 10, Khayat 7, Chamoun 6, Hadidian 6, Ezzedine 5, Mansour 3, Mehzer 0, Zeinoun 0.

Philippines 80 – Belangel 17, Parks 15, Tamayo 15, T. Ravena 10, Chiu 6, K. Ravena 5, Erram 4, Abando 4, Navarro 4, Abarrientos 0, Quiambao 0.

Quarters: 22-27, 46-39, 79-58, 95-80.


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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.