Thursday, September 3, 2015
Gilas Pilipinas falls short against Iran in Jones Cup 2015
The Gilas Pilipinas, Philippine men’s national basketball team, dropped to 3-2 in their 37th William Jones Cup campaign after falling to their rivals from Iran, 74-65, on Thursday, September 3, at the Xinchuang Gymnasium in Taipei.
Ageless veteran Asi Taulava led the Filipinos with 12 points and eight rebounds while also doing a fine job against Iran star Hamed Haddadi who still managed to score 22 points and 15 boards.
Jayson Castro and JC Intal, who was a surprise off the bench, came up with 10 points apiece.
The loss was the second for Gilas Pilipinas (3-2) which had hoped of overcoming Iran (5-1) to have a chance at the Jones Cup title. But Haddadi and Iran, a team they haven’t beaten in two years, were just too much for the Filipinos.
Both teams played in a nip-and-tuck affair early, with Iran playing tight defense against Gilas Pilipinas which were able to keep up.
However, Sonny Thoss and Calvin Abueva suffered early trouble as they committed two fouls in the first period.
There were some fireworks right before the opening quarter ended when Haddadi and Moala Tautuaa almost got into a fight. Haddadi was contesting an elbow by Ranidel De Ocampo when Tautuaa confronted the Iran star big man.
The Filipinos played catchup in the second quarter as Iran found its touch from the outside. The Iranians led by as much as seven, 31-24, before Tautuaa and Castro led a short scoring burst for Gilas Pilipinas.
Tautuaa made two jumpers and one free throw while Castro also hit a basket to keep Gilas Pilipinas within three, 34-31, at the half.
Iran then threatened to pull away in the third period, but Taulava kept Gilas Pilipinas afloat. He held his ground against Haddadi inside while also pounding his way for baskets.
But Haddadi was just too big and too strong as he overpowered the smaller Filipinos down low. His layup and a tough shot by Mehdi Kamrani gave Iran a 54-43 lead late in third period.
However, Abueva came back to provide spark for Gilas Pilipinas. He scored six straight points bridging the third and fourth quarters to ignite a 10-2 run as they came within three, 56-53, at the start of the final frame.
But Terrence Romeo, playing solidly all tournament long, suffered an ankle injury and didn’t play much of the fourth quarter. Iran, behind Hamed Afagh, pushed its lead to nine points, 65-56, with four minutes left.
Gilas Pilipinas then got a huge boost from Intal who buried a go-ahead triple as they trimmed their deficit to four, 65-61.
But a triple by Mohammad Jamshidi and a dunk by Haddadi gave Iran a 70-61 lead and kept the Filipinos at bay.