Gilas Pilipinas blows out Qatar by 38 points, keeps FIBA World Cup hopes alive

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas’ FIBA World Cup hope is still alive as the nationals overpowered Qatar, 84-46 on Friday morning, February 22, 2019 at the Filipino-filled Al Gharafa Sports Club in Doha, Qatar.

It’s been a while since Gilas Pilipinas last won and it’s also been a while since Andray Blatche donned the national colors after getting suspended for few games. With this, Team Philippines felt the urgency to step up as early as possible and finish the game strong.

Andray Blatche’s return to Gilas powered Philippines
Andray Blatche’s return to Gilas powered Philippines in overthrowing Qatar at the start of FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ 6th window. Photo Credit: Business World

Despite the good start, Qatar garnered the slight edge as the Filipinos gave some few good shots to the Qataris especially underneath the basket.

Blatche initiated the scoring rally and was able to switch the tides to the Philippine side, 15-11 as the 1st quarter clock expired.

First-timer and collegiate basketball star Thirdy Ravena made his inaugural appearance but missed all of his shots. Good thing that his fellow Gilas guards made triples to maintain their advantage.

REPLAY: Gilas Pilipinas vs Qatar 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers

Although Gilas had a decent amount of lead, scoring became harder for the nationals as the Qataris got more physical defensively and giving up hard fouls. Philippines posted its first double-digit lead under 3 minutes of the 2nd period.

Pilipinas held on its 10-point, 31-21 lead after the 1st half.

Paul Lee was on a scoring rampage as the 2nd half unfolded. Lee hauled back-to-back treys while Blatche sank 3 consecutive long bombs to double up their margin.

Woes continued to pile up for Qatar as the host players were shooting blanks and had only made 2 points in over 5 minutes. Japeth Aguilar’s lengthy presence made it grueling for the Qataris to score as the 6’9” forward kept on swatting their shot attempts.

Aside from defensive stops, Gilas’ 3-point shooting carried on and gave the nationals a 30 plus point, 62-30 humongous lead at the end of the penultimate quarter.

After Blatche and Lee’s 3-point barrage in the third, it was Jason William and Marcio Lassiter’s turn to rain it down in the final canto to burry Qatar even deeper.

Possessing a gigantic 40-point lead, Coach Yeng Guiao pulled Andray Blatche out to give his prized ward a well-deserved rest and ordered his squad to begin melting the clock.

Coach Yeng Guiao was slapped with 2 technical fouls and was asked to leave the court in the dying seconds of the game. Nevertheless, Gilas Pilipinas finished off Qatar with an 84-46 victory.

With the win, Gilas improved to 6-5 win-loss record and currently at the 4th place in group F behind Australia, Iran and Japan.

Philippines is now in a tough scenario even if it wins its next game against Kazakhstan on Sunday because only the top 3 teams from Group E and F will qualify for the 2020 FIBA World Cup.

Philippines’ only chance to march onto the global and prestigious basketball event is to be the best 4th place finisher in both Groups which will also be difficult as both Lebanon and Jordan are also aiming for the same objective.

The Scores

Philippines 84 – Blatche 17, Lassiter 14, Lee 13, Castro 11, Aguilar 10, Barroca 7, Erram 7, Rosario 4, Norwood 2, Ravena 0, Thompson 0, Fajardo 0.

Qatar 46 – Saeed 10, Elhadary 7, Fouda 6, Gueye 5, Khalid 5, Al-Rayes 3, Muslic 3, Abdelhaleem 2, Mohmedd 2, Mujkic 2, Avdic 1, Al-Darwish 0.

Quarters: 15-11, 31-21, 62-30, 84-46.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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