FIBA World Cup 2018 Asian Qualifiers: Team Pilipinas survive Qatar scare
- Team Pilipinas turned to defense when all their guns misfired, to score a hard-earned win against Qatar.
From bad to worse to great.
Team Pilipinas, fresh from a bad shooting night in Iran three days ago, shot horrendously in the first half and trailed the visiting Qatar by as much as 17, but recovered in the final half to overcome the gritty visitors, 92-81, and solidify its hold of third place in Group F, in the final game of the 4th window of World Cup 2018 Asian Qualifiers held at a closed-door Araneta Coliseum, in Quezon City, Philippines.
Connecting on only one three-point basket out of seventeen attempts in the first two quarters, coach Yeng Guiao's squad was ironically torched by an opponent not known for their marksmanship who hit their first five three-pointers to put early pressure on the home team.
But Team Pilipinas unveiled its vaunted pressure defense in the third quarter, clamping down on their shooters, to turn a twelve point halftime deficit into a four-point advantage going into the final quarter. Japeth Aguilar, who top-scored with 16 points, and Alex Cabagnot, who converted six consecutive free throws in single possession due to multiple technical fouls on an Iraqi player, led the onslaught in the deciding quarter to finally seal their fifth victory in eight outings.
The duo got ample support from their naturalized player Stanley Pringle, 13 points, Beau Belga, 11, and Paul Lee Dalistan, 8.
In a game where they only managed to convert three of their 32 attempts from beyond the arc, Team Pilipinas sizzled with respect to two-point field goals with 61.7 percent clip anchored on their 21 points from opponent's turnovers. Coach Guiao's bench also outscored Qatar's reserves by a whopping 58 points (66-8).
Yousuf Mohammed scored 26 points for Qatar while Tanguy Ngombo and Khalifa Al-Rayes added 17 points apiece to lead the charge for coach Timothy Charles Lewis. Qatar suffered their 6th defeat in 8 games and now face a tall order of sweeping their remaining 4 games just to have a shot at making it to the World Cup.Published 17 Sep 2018, 21:01 IST