In their second game of the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup versus Iraq, Gilas did not have the same scintillating start that was on display in their win versus China.
But when they started rolling, there wasn’t anything that Iraq could do to stop the onslaught.
Led by a backbreaking third-quarter demolition job, Gilas Pilipinas picked up a 84-68 victory over Iraq. With the win, Gilas is assured of a slot in the quarterfinals and avoids competing in a playoff game to make it to the next round.
Terrence Romeo led the onslaught as he shook off a slow start to total 17 points and pace Gilas in the victory. 11 of his points came in the third quarter, when Gilas outscored Iraq 28-9, opening up what was a tight game at halftime. Gilas held a slim lead at the half before pouring it on in the third canto.
But while this scintillating run broke open a close game, the first half was an absolute slugfest. Iraq’s aggressive and swarming defense gave Gilas fits in the first period, as they were quick to switch and rotate, ensuring that the Gilas backcourt would not have the same looks they had versus China.
Gilas also had their first taste of Iraq’s naturalized player Kevin Galloway, and he immediately made his presence felt, as he sprinkled 11 points in the first period.
The physicality of Iraq continued to give Gilas problems in the second quarter, as they opened up a five-point lead with 5:10 remaining in the second. But Gilas would counter with their own run once Jayson Castro returned to the fold. They tied the game at 29 apiece with 1:57 remaining, before eventually settling on a one-point lead at the half, 32-31.
Gilas began to hum in the third period, as Fil-German Christian Standhardinger went to work. Standhardinger attacked the defense of the Iraqi frontline, making fearless drives on every possession.
Romeo would also start cooking in the period, as he made two straight acrobatic layups, one a reverse and another a gorgeous bank shot to give Gilas a 46-35 lead. A triple opened up a 14-point lead, as Gilas began to take full control of the ball game.
Gilas would keep the pressure up, as Iraq made silly fouls from the perimeter. They fouled Romeo and Cruz, which helped to break open a tight game and give Gilas a 21-point lead.
Gilas finished the quarter up 60-40, and the game was all but over. After scoring 15 points in the first half, Galloway was held scoreless in the period, when his team needed him to deliver the most.
Iraq finally found their touch from the perimeter in the final period, but it came way too late. They trimmed the lead down to 16 with five minutes remaining, but back-to-back triples from Norwood and Romeo kept Iraq under control. Gilas kept cool despite physical play from Iraq once again, as they picked up their second win of the tournament and seized the lead in Group B.
The inside and outside attack of Gilas was triggered by the aforementioned Romeo and Standhardinger. The big man of Gilas finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds. Carl Bryan Cruz and Roger Pogoy also chipped in with 11 and 9 points respectively, and both combined to shoot 5/6 from three-point area.
Galloway finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists to lead Iraq, as they fell to 1-1 in a tie with China, which clobbered Qatar 92-67, for second place in Group B.
– After finishing with 13 points in the win versus China, Jayson Castro was held without a field goal in 22 minutes versus Iraq. His only point came from free throw after replacing Calvin Abueva in fourth quarter garbage time. Castro would chip in 4 rebounds and 6 assists.
– Gilas continues to shoot from the perimeter at a high rate, as they finished with 12 triples total, shooting 41.3%. Iraq struggled from that area, as they went 6/29 for 20.7%.
– Jio Jalalon scored his first points of the tournament, finishing with four.
GILAS PILIPINAS (84) Romeo 17, Standhardinger 16, Cruz 11, Pogoy 9, Norwood 8, Wright 8, Aguilar 5, Jalalon 4, Abueva 3, Almazan 2, William 1
IRAQ (68) – Galloway 23, Hamzah 12, Al-Khafaji 8, Ismael 6, Hamad 5, Hameed 5, Abdullah 3, Algburi 2, Dhafer 2, Algburi 2, Aljuboori 0, Alazawi 0
Quarters: 17-19, 32-31, 60-41, 84-68
Gilas Pilipinas vs Qatar- 9PM Manila Time
Iraq vs China- 630PM Manila Time