WATCH: Gilas Pilipinas vs Japan Game Highlights [November 24, 2017]

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Gilas Pilipinas warded off a strong challenge by Japan en route to a 77-71 victory on Friday night at the Komazawa Olympic Park in Tokyo at the start of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Jayson Castro led the Philippines with 20 points, including a dagger three-pointer that gave Gilas a 75-69 lead, halting a furious Japanese rally, with 1:16 left. The veteran Gilas point guard also finished with seven rebounds and six assists.

Andray Blatche added 13 markers, 12 boards, and 3 blocks as Gilas Pilipinas nailed its first win in the newly reformatted home-and-away Asian qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Matthew Wright added 12 points while Gabe Norwood chipped in 10 points, 7 rebounds and 4 dimes.

The Filipinos will head back home to Manila on Saturday to prepare for their home game against Chinese Taipei on Monday in the continuation of the qualifiers.

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