Gilas Pilipinas clinched its first Asian Games semifinal berth in 21 years by holding off a hard-fighting Iran side, 84-83, at the Zhejiang University Zijingang Gymnasium in Hangzhou China.
After a limited outing against Qatar, Justin Brownlee took full advantage of his down time and exploded for 36 points, 16 in the first quarter and 15 in the third, on 5-of-7 three-pointers, to go with 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
The Filipinos led by as many as 21 points in the 3rd frame, 62-41, and by 17 at the start of the payoff period, 71-54, but Iran staged a stunning 22-7 run, cutting the lead to a single possession, 78-76, off a Mohammadsina Vahedi basket at the 3:35 mark.
Vahedi, in an otherworldly state, added a three-pointer in the final two minutes before somehow moving Iran ahead, 81-80, on free throws at the 1:33 mark.
Veterans Fajardo and Brownlee, meanwhile, joined hands and connected on two critical offensive plays in the final minute of regulation to push Gilas back on top, 84-83, as Iran then allowed Chris Newsome run out the clock out before surrendering its final foul.
Fajardo finished with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists, while fellow PBA MVP Scottie Thompson scored 11 points, 6 boards, and 2 assists.
Gilas will now meet China in the semifinals for a spot in the gold-medal match.