September 08, 2019

Iran denies Gilas graceful exit

In what could well be the lowest of lows in the country's FIBA World Cup stints, Gilas Pilipinas dropped a 95-75 loss to Iran and wound up with a big fat egg in a nightmarish showing in the 18th edition of the FIBA showpiece in China.

In the hunt for a Tokyo Olympic outright entry, the Iranians flexed their muscles hard and dealt the Nationals a beating that would linger for a long while.

As with the 20-point loss, Team Phl ended up shut out in five games and could finish dead last in the 32-team field.

Coach Yeng Guiao and his troops failed to match Team Phl's 1-4 showing in the 2014 meet in Spain. And it's really a forgettable stint with Andray Blatche and his teammates suffering shattering losses in four outings. Against Angola, they blew a winnable overtime duel.

The Nationals actually had a promising start against the Iranians with six three-pointers before yielding the opening quarter at 24-30.

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They gave away five points in the closing seconds of the first quarter, signaling the start of a downfall that would be hard to bear for the basketball-crazy nation.

To simply put it, Iran denied Team Phl a graceful exit.

Andray Blatche was gone long before the final buzzer sounded, tossed out on a second technical infraction with 5:23 left to play and the Nationals trailing by 27 at 62-89.

The national coach was also called a T, embodying the agony and frustration suffered by the team all tournament long.

And the national federation is likely to be back on the drawing board upon Gilas return home even as the 2019 SEA Games is around the corner. Then there's the next FIBA World Cup that's the country is hosting in 2023. (SB)