Gilas Defeat Iran to enter Semi-Finals at Asian Games
Gilas Pilipinas advanced to the semifinals of the 19th Asian Games basketball event with a thrilling 84-83 victory against Iran on Tuesday. The Filipino squad watched their once-commanding 21-point lead disappear during the third quarter. However, they still captured the exciting victory at the Zijingang gymnasium thanks to Justin Brownlee’s late-game heroics and a stroke of fate.
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Despite having only two points in the critical fourth quarter, Brownlee’s floating jumper with 44 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winning basket for Gilas. On Wednesday, the Philippine team will meet reigning champion China in the semifinals, with the winner advancing to the gold medal match. China advanced by defeating South Korea in the quarterfinals 84-70. The highly anticipated semifinal match is set to begin at 8 p.m.
Gilas coach Tim Cone, clearly relieved, said, “It came down to the last play, and we’re lucky to win.” We shouldn’t have put ourselves in that situation in the first place. But that’s how international contests work; they can change on a dime, and this one did.”
Brownlee had a great game, scoring 36 points, 34 of which came in the opening three quarters. In addition to eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals, the Barangay Ginebra import shot an astounding 5-of-7 from beyond the three-point arc. Gilas depended heavily on Brownlee’s scoring ability, especially when Iran attempted a late-game rally spearheaded by three-point shooting from Mohammadsina Vahedi and Matin Aghanjapour.
The game took a dramatic turn in the last 62 seconds when Iran temporarily grabbed the lead at 83-82 thanks to Navid Rezaeifar’s final two points of the game. Conversely, Brownlee soon restored order for Gilas with a critical floater, putting his side up 84-83. Filipino fans held their breath as Aghanjapour missed a possibly game-changing three-point attempt for Iran in the final 25 seconds.
Iran was dropped to the fifth to eighth place classification after Vahedi led the team with 24 points, including four three-pointers.
The final score is:
Brownlee (36), Fajardo (18), Thompson (11), Oftana (7), Perez (6), Kouame (4), Newsome (2), Alas (0), Tolentino (0), Aguilar (0).
Iran (83): Vahedi (24), Rezaeifar (14), Mirzaeitalarposhti (12), Aghajanpour (11), Girgooorian (8), Mashayekhi (6), Kazemi (6), Saijad (2).
Quarterscores were 28-22, 48-36, 71-54, and 84-83.
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