Gilas Pilipinas bounces back, dominates Qatar by 39 points in Asian Games

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas has completely moved on from the Jordan-game-blunder and took care of its business vs. Qatar, 80-41, on Monday, October 2, in Hangzhou, China.

CJ Perez led Gilas Pilipinas past Qatar with 12 points
CJ Perez led Gilas Pilipinas past Qatar with 12 points, 4 boards, 4 assists, and 3 steals. Photo Credit: PSC-POC Media Pool

It’s a win-or-go-home for Gilas Pilipinas after a tough loss against the Jordanians. As expected, the nationals would go hard against the Qataris in the playoffs to atone for their lone defeat and earn a ticket to the quarterfinals.

June Mar Fajardo, being the biggest and tallest man on the floor, wasted no time as he owned the shaded lane and manhandled his defender for the early lead.

Not only did Fajardo start hot in the opener, Justin Brownlee took advantage of the Jordanians’ smaller frame to slash and dash towards the basket.

As Fajardo and Brownlee earned a living from the inside, Calvin Oftana kept on pouring it in from the outside for an early sizeable margin. Oftana however, was forced to sit out as he sustained an inadvertent elbow in the face.

After the opening salvo, Gilas Pilipinas savored a 33-15 lead with CJ Perez beating the buzzer from almost halfcourt.

Philippines’ transition defense in the second quarter was simply immaculate together with sweet shooting from the three point territory that made the Filipinos maintain its mile-long advantage with plenty of time left.

Though down and beaten up, Team Qatar kept their heads up and kept on fighting back with the hopes of upsetting the higher-ranked squad, the Philippines.

As Fajardo spent the entire second period on the bench, his relievers, Jepeth Aguilar and Ange Kouame also enjoyed their height superiority over the Qataris underneath the basket.

Gilas Pilipinas wrapped up the first 24 minutes of the ball game with a 57-23 lead.

The third quarter witnessed an impressive surge for the national team as they continually widened their lead, ultimately reaching an astonishing margin of more than 40 points.

Despite trailing by a lot, the Qataris remained undaunted and stuck with their gameplan of beating Philippines behind the arc which didn’t materialize in the previous quarters.

Qatar had one more period left to come from behind. The Philippines on the other hand, needed 10 more minutes to close the game and move on to the next phase of the playoffs. 73-30 in favor of Gilas Pilipinas heading to the final chapter.

As the fourth period dawned, Coach Tim Cone designated it as "garbage time" and deployed his second unit to close out the game.

Coach Cone’s decision to sit out his star players was somewhat strategic as Gilas had less than a day to finish the playoffs and face another continental giant, Team Iran tomorrow, October 3 at 12 pm.

UPDATE: Gilas Pilipinas books Asian Games semis after nail-biting thriller vs. Iran

In a swift turnaround, Gilas managed to cast aside the memory of their 25-point loss to Jordan just a couple of days ago. They redeemed themselves by convincingly eliminating Qatar with an impressive 80-41 victory.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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