In a virtual repeat of their previous match, Gilas Pilipinas waged a tough fight throughout but sagged at the finish and bowed down to Iran, 70-78, in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers Monday night at the MOA Arena.
It was a crucial loss that dropped Team Phl down to fourth place going into the final window of the FIBAWC eliminator.
Worse, the Nationals are playing their last two games on foreign soil versus Qatar and Kazakhstan.
Australia and Iran stayed first and second in Group F and Japan moved past the Philippines following an 86-70 victory over Kazakhstan at home earlier in the day.
“We still lacked maturity. We’re not cohesive as we want to be at this point. But the guys really tried their best,” said national team coach Yeng Guiao.
The Nationals led most of the way and even enjoyed an eight-point spread at 60-52 early in the fourth quarter only to flounder at the finish.
Iran 78 – Jamshidijafarabadi 26, Yakhchalidehkordi 21, Mirzaeitalarposhti 11, Arghavan 8, Hassanzadeh 7, Mozafarivanani 3, Hosseizadeh 2, Davoudichegani 0, Rezaeifar 0, Torabi 0, Sedighi 0.
Philippines 70 – Castro William 19, Standhardinger 17, Lassiter 12, Fajardo 8, Wright 4, Rosario 3, Belga 3, Aguilar 2, Santos 2, Norwood 0, Thompson 0, Tenorio 0.
Quarterscores: 19-20, 35-39, 50-54, 78-70.