MANILA, Philippines – After fighting hard, Gilas Pilipinas suffered its second heartbreak as the national team was crushed by Lebanon, 106-87, in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup on Saturday, August 19 in Beirut, Lebanon.
Lebanon was unstoppable from both the defensive and offensive sides as it clobbered Philippines throughout the match.
The host country Lebanon stepped on the offensive pedal with a 7-0 run early in the match but Gilas Pilipinas tried trimming the lead with behind back-to-back three-pointers and a two-handed slam from Japeth Aguilar to close the first quarter behind 29-18.
Philippines managed to intensify their offense with Jayson Castro unleashing two consecutive triples to cut Lebanon’s advantage to only 8 points but center Norvel Pelle's stonewall defense prevented the nationals to maintain their rhythm.
The 38-year-old Fhadi El Khatib also provided fire power to Lebanon as he sealed the halftime with 22 points.
Philippines tried to score comeback but failed as Lebanon cruised to grab a 19-point lead, 84-65, with 7:42 minutes left in the final period.
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes picked up two technical fouls and was ejected from the match as he walked out after a non-call on Lebanon near the final buzzer.
Lebanon took the life out of Philippines with their biggest lead, 20 points, with two minutes remaining in the game.
The veteran El Khatib finished with 36 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds.
Slasher Terrence Romeo proved to be effective yet again with 19 markers, 4 assists and two rebounds.
The national team will play against Jordan on Sunday at 6:30 pm for the 7th spot in the tourney. – Rappler.com