Japan sends Gilas Pilipinas packing in 2022 FIBA Asia Cup

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Japan ousted the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team from the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup with a 102-81 victory on Tuesday at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Toronto Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe sparked the Akatsuki Five’s early drive towards a 19-7 lead that helped set the tone for Japan’s first win over the Philippines in a decade. The 6-foot-9 lefty finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, and three assists.

Sharpshooting guard Yuki Togashi led Japan with 18 points and six assists, while Luke Evans had 17 points and seven boards. Japan will next face off against the mighty Australians in the quarterfinals.

Yudai Nishida chipped in 15 points, while Yutaro Suda added 14 markers.

The loss meant that the Philippines would miss the quarterfinals of this tournament for the first time in 15 years. Its ninth place-finish is its lowest since 2007.

“Well, obviously, the result is not what we wanted. Again, we are very sorry that we’ve disappointed a lot of our countrymen, our fellow Filipinos,” said head coach Chot Reyes.

“Like I said, we brought a very young team here and the experience is just going to make them better. To be able to be exposed to that kind of intensity and level of play here in the Asia Cup, there is not one player on our team in the 12 players that have been in the Asia Cup. This is all their first time. So, like I said, we wished to get at least into the top eight but we weren’t able to get the job done,” he continued.

Japan led by 16, 32-16, after the first but Gilas made a run in the second, chopping the deficit down to seven, 25-32, after a three-pointer by Poy Erram. However, Japan was hardly fazed and eventually raised their lead back to 16, 50-34, at halftime.

Bobby Ray Parks led Gilas with 16 points and three assists, while Kiefer Ravena had 15 points. Cebuano big man Carl Tamayo added 10 points before fouling out in the fourth stanza.

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