Gilas falls to Lebanon in opener of FIBA Asia Cup 2022

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The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team’s campaign in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup got off to a dismal start as they fell to Lebanon, 95-80, on Wednesday night at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta.

The Filipino cagers valiantly tried to come back from a huge 22-point deficit in the fourth period, riding a scorching 14-1 run led by Cebuano big man Carl Tamayo to pull to within nine, 83-74, with 4:42 left in the match.

However, the crafty Cedars had an answer as Hayk Gyokchan and Wael Arakji converted three-point plays to raise their lead back to 14, 89-65, with under two minutes remaining.

The result left the Gilas in a precarious position in Group D as they try to advance to the quarterfinals. The top team in the Pool will automatically move on to the quarterfinals while the second and third-ranked teams will compete in the crossover playoffs against Group C.

New Zealand and Lebanon currently share the top spot in Group D at 1-0 while the Philippines and India are tied at 1-1. The Gilas will try to get their first win when they tangle with India on Friday at 4 p.m.

SJ Belangel led the Gilas with 17 points, three assists, and two steals, while Tamayo—the pride of Talisay City, Cebu—scored 10 of his points in the fourth. He added six rebounds, three assists, and three blocks.

Bobby Ray Parks also had 15 points while Thirdy Ravena, who left the game in the first half due to a deep gash in his right eyebrow after falling hard in the second canto, daded 10 points, five boards, and two dimes.

Afterward, Gilas head coach Chot Reyes said Lebanon’s 22-point lead was just too large to overcome late in the game.

“Unfortunate that the result turned out this way. I thought we made a great run, we never quit when we were down by almost 20 points in the fourth. We made a great run within single digits midway through the fourth quarter,” said Reyes.

“But the spread, the buffer they got in the third quarter when they were hitting all those three-pointers was just too much for us to overcome. Plus, our turnovers, we gave them 21 points. We were to cut that down and make it a much closer ball game,” he added.

Arakji led the Cedars with 20 points and four assists, while naturalized player Jonathan Arledge chipped in 19 points, six rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

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