Sunday, September 28, 2014
Gilas Pilipinas out of Asian Games despite beating Kazakhstan (VIDEO)
Gilas Pilipinas' hopes of advancing to the medal round of the 2014 Asian Games were dashed despite beating Kazakhstan, 67-65, Sunday at the Hwaseong Sports Complex in Incheon.
Gilas needed to win the game by at least 11 points to at least have a chance of making it to the medal round, but a late flurry by Kazakhstan erased the Philippines' double-digit lead.
The Philippines led by as much as 18 points and were on top, 52-39, entering the final frame. But Pavel Ilin, who led all scorers with 21 points, helped rally Kazakhstan in the final minutes of the game to stun Gilas.
"We won the game, but really we lost," said a dejected head coach Chot Reyes, who restored Marcus Douthit to his starting line-up after controversially benching the American-born naturalized Filipino on Saturday.
Douthit responded by notching 18 points and 14 rebounds, light years ahead of Friday's performance in the defeat to Qatar after which Reyes accused Douthit of "quitting" on his team and said "he can go home if he wants".
The basketball-mad Philippines have not won a medal at the Asian Games since 1998, when they took the bronze.
Douthit's up-and-under lay-up at the other end made it 67-56 for the Philippines. But it turned out to be Gilas' last basket, with Ilin's two free throws touching off a 9-0 run by Kazakhstan to end the game.
Leading by only two points, 67-65, Gilas resorted to shooting at its own basket to try and force overtime, but Douthit's lay-up was disallowed by the referees and instead deemed a turnover.
Sent to the line with a chance to tie the game, Kazakhstan's Anatoliy Kolesnikov instead opted to miss both free throws, sealing Gilas' fate.
It was Gilas' lone victory in the single round robin quarter-finals of the Asian Games. They lost a shocker to Qatar and then dropped a heartbreaking contest to South Korea, a game they played without Douthit.
Jimmy Alapag, in his final game for the Philippines, scored 11 points off the bench, while LA Tenorio finished with eight points.
China on basketball brink
After the Philippines crashed out, seven-time winners China will almost certainly follow after losing 75-67 to gold medal favorites Iran in the last Asian Games basketball quarter-finals pool matches Sunday.
The last time China failed to win an Asian Games medal was in 1970 and they have competed in nine consecutive finals since 1978, winning seven of them.
The damage was really done 24 hours earlier for a talented but young and inexperienced Chinese team, when they squandered a nine-point half-time lead to be upset by Japan, 79-72.
"We didn't expect that Japan could beat China," Iran's captain Mohammad Nikkah Bahrami told AFP after a powerful display which saw him lead his team with 14 points, seven assists and three rebounds.
"China are a very good team. I'm telling you, I just played against them. They have a lot of good big guys who can shoot the ball very well."
China's head coach Gong Luming was optimistic that his young side would learn from their run to the quarter-finals in the tournament.
"I know that our players have to improve their shooting. National and international competitions are vastly different," he said. "Since most of them were playing their first Asian Games they will become better players for this experience."
China's giant 7-foot-1 Zhou Qi registered game highs with 17 points and 11 rebounds, but Iran were up 11-9 after five minutes and they never relinquished the lead.
"I don't know what happened to them (China) last night," Nikkah Bahrami added. "They lost this competition because they lost last night. They knew they were going to have a hard time against us. They shouldn't have taken it easy against Japan, I think."
Iran's Slovakian coach Mehmed Becirovic echoed his captain's words. "Yes, it is a surprise China and the Philippines results, this was not forecast," he said. "I expect it now to be Iran against South Korea in the final and that will be very tough against them with home support."
"China put a lot of energy into the game but they are young and need to learn how to play," he said.
China's slim hopes now rest on Mongolia upsetting Japan in the last match in Group G later, a result that would seem highly unlikely given that China crushed the surprise quarter-finalists from across their northern border 108-67 on Friday. -- With report from Agence France-Presse