Gilas Pilipinas notched its first win in the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge via 98-86 thumping of Kazakhstan on Tuesday at the Azadi Basketball Hall in Tehran, Iran.
Former Far Eastern University Tamaraw Mac Belo led the Filipinos with an impressive 30 points, 11 rebounds and three assists as Gilas Pilipinas stayed in contention with a 1-3 win-loss record in Group E.
The Filipinos came out hot off the gates as they managed to clip a double-digit lead, 15-2, midway through the opening quarter via the six straight points by Ed Daquioag.
Gilas sustained their winning form until the end of the initial 10 minutes of play to place themselves ahead of the Snow Leopards, 27-15, going into the second period.
The Philippines scored five out of their 10 attempts from beyond the arc at halftime, giving them a 47-37 edge over the Kazakhs before the midgame intermission.
However, Kazakhstan intensified its offensive with a 29-point output in the third canto to inch closer to the Philippines, 70-66, with just 10 minutes left in the contest.
Gilas’ defense worked against the surging Kazakhs in the fourth quarter, limiting their foes to 20 points, en route to their first win.
Daquioag finished with 14 points and four assists while Russell Escoto contributed 12 markers, five boards and two dishes. Swingman Kevin Ferrer had eight points, including a crucial three pointer in the dying minutes of the final period, while Mike Tolomia and Carl Bryan Cruz registered six points each.
The team will be facing Jordan in a must-win game at 1:30 p.m. (Manila time) today.
Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign had a grim start after losing to India (83-91), Taiwan (76-87) and China (65-75).