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Nov 30, 2018

Team Pilipinas comes up short in loss to Kazakhstan

Gilas Pilipinas ran into a well-prepared Kazakhstan side three months from their last matchup and suffered an 88-92 loss that put them in a precarious spot nearing the end of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

With the heartbreaking defeat, the Nationals dropped to joint third place with the Japanese at 5-4 in Group F play.

Earlier in the day, the Japanese defended their turf in Tokyo, dumping Qatar, 85-47.

The Kazakhs showed much improvement from their blowout loss to the Filipinos in their Asian Games matchup in Jakarta in August, humbling Gilas before its huge cheering crowd at the MOA Arena.

"We were mismatched in terms of quickness," said national team coach Yeng Guiao at the post-game press conference.

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A team with a mere 35.6-percent shooting from the arc in eight previous FIBAWC games, the Kazakhs sizzled with 12-of-23 three-pointers (52.2) in this match to stun the Filipinos.

Alexander Zhigulin, a 6-foot-7 forward averaging only 6.9 points in the qualifiers, exploded for 6-of-12 treys and a total of 30 points.

"The team moved the ball well and my teammates found me, and luckily I made my shots," said Zhigulin.

"No, you're a good shooter," said coach Renatas Kurilionokas in a quick reaction to what his player said in the post-game interview.

The two teams engaged in fierce shootout but the Filipinos missed crucial shots at the finish, allowing the Kazakhs to pull off the shocker.

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Down by four at 88-90 with 26 seconds to go, Gilas eventually yielded the game as LA Tenorio missed a three-point attempt.

Stanley Pringle erupted for 29 points but had his critical missed shots at endgame. (SB)