Gilas Pilipinas tried its best to overcome Lebanon’s big 4th quarter lead but fell short in the end to open its campaign in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup with a 95-80 defeat, Wednesday night at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Down by as much as 22 to the hot-shooting Lebanese, the Philippine squad starring SJ Belangel and Carl Tamayo battled back and were able to cut the deficit to 9 but their opponents simply refused to buckle down and held on to the victory.
“Unfortunate that the result turned out this way,” said Gilas head coach Chot Reyes shortly after the match. “I thought we made a great run, we never quit when we were down by almost 20 points in the fourth. We made a great run within single digits midway through the fourth quarter.”
“But the spread, the buffer they got in the third quarter when they were hitting all those three-pointers was just too much for us to overcome. Plus our turnovers, we gave them 21 points. We were to cut that down and make it a much closer program,” he added.
The win gave Lebanon a share of Group D leadership with New Zealand who earlier in the day blasted India by 53 points, 100-47.
Belangel paced Gilas with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting with 3-of-8 coming from beyond the arc. Ray Parks celebrated his national team return with 15 points highlighted by 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point country. Carl Tamayo also tallied 15 while Thirdy Ravena survived a scary fall in the 2nd period and finished with 10 markers in 23 minutes of action.
Gilas will square off with the Indians on Friday, July 15, 4:00pm in the same venue.