INCHEON, South Korea: Gilas Pilipinas fought reigning FIBA Asia champion Iran on even terms before losing steam in the final minutes to go down, 68-63, in the 2014 Asian Games basketball competition on Thursday at the Hwaseong Sports Complex Gymnasium here.
Despite the loss, the Philippines will still advance to the quarterfinals with a 1-1 card in Group E. Iran took the top seeding in the group with a 2-0.
Gilas led by as many as seven points in the first half, but the taller and beefier Iranians caught up and surged ahead in the closing minutes of the game.
Paul Lee led the Philippines scoring with 11 points, and naturalized player Marcus Douthit and LA Tenorio chipped in 10 points each.
Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes did not hide his disappointment over the loss. “We lost the game on unforced errors. We gave them easy points on the free throw line. I’m upset we lost a game we should have won and we lost a game with our errors,” he said.
Samad Nikkhah Bahrami shot 21 points for Iran while FIBA Asia Most Valuable Player Hamed Haddadi added 20 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks.
“It’s a very tough physical game. I must be happy but we need a lot of things to improve,” said Iran mentor Mehmed Becirovic of Slovenia.
Thursday was a day of mixed results for the Philippines in the Asiad.
In boxing, at the Seonhak Gymnasium, Filipinos Ian Clark Bautista and Wilfredo Lopez posted contrasting victories to advance to the Round-of-16.
Bautista scored a 3-0 unanimous win (29-26, 29-25, 29-27) over Abdallah Maher Mohammad Shamon of Jordan in the men’s flyweight. Lopez clinched a 2-1 split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) over Aziz Achilove of Turkmenistan in the men’s middleweight.
Bautista sealed a showdown with Choe Sangdon of host South Korea, a 3-0 winner over Kinley Gyeltshen of Bhutan. Lopez battles South Korean Kim Daehwan, who defeated Waheed Waheed Abdulridha Waheed of Iraq, 3-0.
In triathlon, Philippine Swimming League standout Ma. Claire Adorna checked in at 2:09:05 to place seventh in the women’s division, while Marion Kim Mangrobang was ninth with a time of 2:13:18. Japanese Ai Ueda ruled the event in 2:01:47.
In swimming, Olympian Jessie Khing Lacuna wrapped up his Asiad campaign with a 17th-place finish in the men’s 100m freestyle (51.89).
In tennis, the Philippine bets failed to make it past the second round in the singles competition. Filipino-German Katharina Lehnert gave sixth seed Erin Hozumi of Japan a good fight before bowing out, 7-6 (4), 7-5.
Patrick John Tierro was overpowered by Chung Hyeon of South Korea, 6-0, 6-3.
Lehnert bounced back in the mixed doubles, teaming with Ruben Gonzales to send off Anne Mathema and Dawa Sonam Sherpa of Nepal, 6-0, 6-1, in the first round.
Treat Huey and Denise Dy were also through to the second round after a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Chun Hun Wong and Katherin Cheng Ip of Hong Kong.
In archery, Paul Marton dela Cruz made it to the semifinals of the men’s compound individual after edging India’s Sandeep Kumar, 141-135. Dela Cruz will face the winner of the match-up between Iran’s Esmaeil Ebadi and South Korea’s Li Hong Min.
Amaya Paz-Cojuangco and Abbigail Tindugan were eliminated in the women’s compound. Jou Huang of South Korea ousted Paz-Cojuangco, 142-140, and Dellie Threesyadinda of Indonesia beat Tindugan, 138-136.