Notwithstanding the heartbreaking 79-84 loss against Chinese Taipei Saturday night, Gilas Pilipinas advances into the second round and will face Japan tonight at 8:30 p.m. of the 27th FIBA Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Filipinos landed at No. 2 in Group A, after conquering Kingdom of Saudia Arabia, 78-66, and getting past Jordan, 77-71, to secure a spot in the second round.
Taipei swept the group with a 3-0 record, while Jordan managed to book the final ticket with a 63-47 win over Saudia Arabia.
With only three teams playing in Group B, all squads – Qatar, Japan and Hongkong advanced into the second round.
Qatar topped the group by beating Japan, 75-74, and routing Hongkong, 87-64. Japan settled for No. 2 with a 76-59 win over Hongkong.
In Group C, as expected Iran scored a clean 3-0 sweep after showing dominance over defending champion China, 70-51, Saturday.
With China’s main man Yi Jian Lian sidelined due to a hamstring injury, Iran silenced China with big plays from its 7’2 giant Hamed Haddadi, who tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and a steal.
China slipped to No. 3 in the group as Korea settled at No. 2 with 80-58 drubbing of Malaysia to avenge its 65-76 loss to Iran Friday night.
Completing the second round cast are the three qualifiers from Group D – Kazakhstan, Bahrain, and India.*NAB
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