Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas bowed to hot-shooting Iranian ballclub Petrochimi, 87-66, Tuesday night in the 2017 Fiba Champions Cup at Chenzhou Sports Center in Chenzhou, China.
The PH team fell to third place in Group A following its second loss in four games and will now be facing the Andray Blatche-led Chinese ballclub Xinjiang Flying Tigers in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Earlier, Xinjiang Flying Tigers lost to Al-Riyadi, 73-103, with Blatche failing to score even a bucket. Blatche last played for Gilas in the Seaba Championship in May this year.
The one-two punch of Isaiah Austin and Kiefer Ravena once again led the Philippine side, with each scoring 20 points, but these were not enough to prevent a stratospheric Iranian club reinforced by former NBA player Willie Warren from grabbing the top spot in the group.
Austin, Gilas Pilipinas’ 7’1” prospective naturalized player, added 12 rebounds and three blocks while Ravena had five boards and three assists. Norbert Torres chipped in nine points and four boards.
After shooting the lights out in their last game against Mono Vampire of Thailand last Sunday, Chooks could only hit four of 19 attempts from beyond the three-point arc on Tuesday.
The Iranians began imposing their will in the second quarter where they outscored the Filipinos, 27-15, en route to a 43-39 halftime lead. Warren, the former Los Angeles Clipper, scored 12 of his points in that run.
The Filipinos refused to surrender without a fight, cutting the Iranian lead to just 10 points, 66-56, with 6:54 left, following three-pointers from Torres and Jeron Teng.
But Warren again led Petrochimi on a 14-0 blast as the Iranians regained their 24-point lead, 80-56 with 3:36 remaining.
Sajjad Mashayekhi added 15 points, six boards, and five assists for Petrochimi. Behnam Yakhchali chipped in 12 markers, six caroms, and three assists. Iranian national team veteran Arsalan Kazemi had nine points and a whopping 18 rebounds in the win.
PETROCHIMI 87 – Warren 30, Mashayekhi 15, Yakhchali 12, Kazemi 9, Davarpanah 8, Niktash 5, Zakeri 4, Mirzaeitalarposhti 2, Sahakian 2, Bahramzad 0.
CHOOKS-TO-GO PILIPINAS 66 – Austin 20, Ravena 20, Torres 9, Jeron Teng 5, Revilla 4, Manuel 3, Jeric Teng 3, Vosotros 2, Cruz 0, Jose 0, Tamsi 0.
Quarters: 16-14, 43-29, 61-45, 87-66.