Gilas Pilipinas continue its mastery against team Japan and logged its first win in 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Jayson Castro William proved once again why he is the Best Point Guard in Asia as he dropped 20 points, grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 6 assists.
The entire first half was controlled by Filipino squad because of their relentless defense. Each time Japan goes inside the paint, the long hands of Blatche, Fajardo, Rosario or Aguilar were there to cover the rim.
However, during the second half, Coach Julio Lamas of team Japan unleashed his well kept surprise prepared for Gilas Pilipinas. Yudai Baba and Tenketsu Harimoto led the Akatsuki Five surge and took over the game as they led 40-37.
Although missing several free-throws, unable to return back to defense and committed several turnovers, Andray Blatche was still instrumental in Gilas run. One of his highlights was a three-pointer after a making a pivot dribble near the half court line. Blatche gave Gilas a 59-55 lead at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Philippines men’s basketball team was still in control of the game but Japan kept knocking the doors. The combination of Yuki Togashi and Ira Brown playing pick and roll kept the game close.
Then Coach Chot Reyes called Roger Pogoy in replace to June Mar Fajardo who was already in foul trouble. Pogoy delivered two crucial plays in the last few minutes of the final quarter.
He was able to make Ira Brown commit an offensive foul and the other one was a steal against Togashi.
Gilas Pilipinas next game is against Chinese Taipei on November 27, 2017 in Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Philippines (77) – William 20, Blatche 13, Wright 12, Norwood 10, Fajardo 6, Abueva 5, Pogoy 5, Aguilar 5
Japan (71) – Hiejima 20, Tanaka 10, Brown 10, Togashi 8, Baba 7, Harimoto 7, Shinoyama 4, Takeuchi 3, Ota 2