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Gilas repels Japan for first Asian qualifiers win

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas held off a determined Japanese side, 77-71, in their clash in Tokyo Friday night to open their quest for a ticket to the FIBA World Cup on a positive note.

Jayson Castro led the Filipinos’ offense with 20 points while Andray Blatche and Matthew Wright finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Gilas went off to a promising start in the first two quarters but was pushed to the brink when Japan uncorked a 12-0 run in the third period.

The Japanese continued to threaten and even grabbed the lead in the payoff period, but Castro conspired with the rest of his teammates to keep their foes at bay.

Makoto Hiejima starred for Japan with 20 points.

Gilas next hosts fellow Group B member Chinese Taipei on Monday, November 27, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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