Gilas Pilipinas buckled down to work in a game it could afford to lose, and completed a three-game sweep in FIBA Asia Cup group elims with an 80-74 win over Qatar at the Noudhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut Sunday night.
With Christian Standhardinger joining June Mar Fajardo in the sideline to rest a sore shoulder, the Filipinos played small ball and blew the Qataris away with a fiery shooting from afar.
Matthew Wright, Carl Bryan Cruz, Gabe Norwood, Jason Castro and RR Pogoy strung up 15 three-pointers as the Nationals sustained their blazing romp following earlier wins over China and Iraq.
As the Pool B top notcher, Team Phl automatically advanced to the Final Eight, facing either Korea or Japan which square off in a classification-round knockout Monday.
So it will either be a rematch of the Phl-Japan semifinal in 2015 or the Phl-Korea semi in 2013.
Assured of a quarters berth even before their showdown with the Qataris, the Nationals still refused to slow down and instead performed a worthy game cheered on by a huge throng of Filipino workers on weekend off.
Wright took his turn to lead the scoring parade for Gilas with 25 points laced by an amazing 7-of-12 three-point shooting. – PBA
PHILIPPINES 80 – Wright 25, Cruz 13, Norwood 10, Romeo 10, Castro 6, Pogoy 5, Almazan 4, Aguilar 3, Abueva 2, Jalalon 2.
QATAR 74 – El Hadary 23, Saad 18, Erfan 9, Abdelhaleem 8, Mohamed 6, Al-Mufta 6, M. Mohamed 4, Al-Darwish 0, Abelkawy 0, Al-Rayes 0.
Quarterscores: 25-16, 41-27, 59-47, 80-74