Jayson Castro and Troy Rosario both made a big impact on their FIBA Asia World Cup qualifiers comeback, playing key roles as Gilas Pilipinas repeated over Japan, 89-84, to claim an outright entry into the next round.
Rosario sparked Gilas’ chase from an early 16-point deficit while Castro delivered the biggest shot at endgame to personally finish off the Japanese and lift Gilas to the next round of the WC qualifiers where they may face Iran, Kazakhstan and Qatar.
A deafening collective roar of the home fans reverberated at the MOA Arena as Castro knocked in an awkward looping shot off former PBA import Ira Brown that hit the mark to make it 88-84 with 10.6 seconds to go.
The Filipinos escaped past the Japanese and jacked up their record to 3-1, second behind Australia (4-0) in Group B play.
Gilas, however, must still beat Chinese Taipei and Australia in the third window of the qualifiers to improve the card that it will carry over to the next round.
PHILIPPINES 89 — Blatche 18, Rosario 14, Ravena 13, Abueva 8, Castro William 8, Norwood 8, Fajardo 7, Pogoy 6, Aguilar 5, Jalalon 2, Wright 0.
JAPAN 84 — Hiejima 23, Brown 16, Tanaka 12, Shinoyama 9, Tsuji 8, Ota 6, Takeuchi 5, Uto 3, Harimoto 2, Furukawa 0, Hashimoto 0, Nagayoshi 0.
Quarters: 21-22, 46-41, 72-61, 89-84.