Gilas Pilipinas will go up against defending champion Iran today (Sept 28) for the second round of 2015 FIBA Asia Championship in China.
Gilas defeated Japan, 73-66, on Sunday to open the second round of the tournament in Changsha, Hunan, China.
GMA News reported the Philippine basketball team suffered a huge blow in the second quarter when Andray Blatche hurt his ankle after being fouled by a Japanese player. He headed to the bench limping right after the play.
Blatche came back early in the third quarter but his injury worsened and had to remain in the bench for the entire period. He got back on the court in the fourth period but still in pain.
Gilas Pilipinas then suffered free throw shooting troubles that gave Japan an opportunity to get closer to a win.
However, Ranidel De Ocampo broke the deadlock with a three-pointer with 2:15 left to the game. Calvin Abueva and Blatche also orchestrated key plays in the final minutes to secure the victory.
Blatche finished with 18 points, including 10 in the final period, and 10 rebounds despite the ankle injury. De Ocampo scored 13 points, Jayson Castro and Terrence Romeo added 12 apiece, while Abueva contributed 10 points.
The Philippine-Iran game starts at 11:45 am (PH Time).
Watch the game live stream here.
The Philippine team advanced in Group E with a carry-over record of 1-1 after beating Kuwait on Friday.
According to Rappler, Gilas’ victory over Kuwait was not included because Kuwait has already been eliminated. Gilas’ fellow Group B teams – Palestine and Hong Kong – also advance to Group E and will likewise compete with Iran, India and Japan.
Meanwhile, the top 3 teams from Group C and D also moved on to Group F in the second round.
The top 4 teams from Group E and F in the second round will advance to the knockout quarterfinals.
Gilas will battle against India tomorrow (Sept 29) at 2:30 pm (PH Time).