Gilas Pilipinas is back to the FIBA World Cup again.
Andray Blatche played his most productive game in a Gilas uniform and drew the needed support from his teammates as Team Philippines conquered Kazakhstan in its home turf to salvage a berth in the 2019 World Cup set in China later this year.
Blatche was in his element as a nine-time NBA veteran that he is, coming through with 41 points that went with 14 rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocks in a hulking performance Gilas missed in the initial Phl-Kazakh match.
Then there were June Mar Fajardo, Jayson Castro, Paul Lee, Marcio Lassiter, Mark Barroca and Japeth Aguilar also playing key roles as the Nationals avenged their 88-92 loss to the Kazakhs in Manila last November.
Helping Team Philippines clinch a WC berth was South Korea’s 84-72 win over Lebanon.
Philippines 93 – Blatche 41, Castro 15, Fajardo 9, Lee 8, Lassiter 8, Rosario 4, Aguilar 4, Barroca 2, Pogoy 2, Norwood 0, Erram 0, Ravena 0.
Kazakhstan 75 – Clemmons 27, Gavrilov 12, Yergali 11, Zhigulin 8, Murzagaliyev 8, Madekin 4, Bazhin 3, Bykov 2, Aitkali 0, Kuanov 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21, 45-40, 71-60, 93-75.