Gilas Pilipinas sacks Kazakhs, advances against Qatar or Korea
By Nelson Beltran Updated Saturday August 10, 2013 - 12:00am

Gilas Pilipinas’ LA Tenorio baits Kazakhstan’s Anton Ponomarev (11) with a pump-fake as Kazakh Timur Sultanov looks on during their knockout duel in the FIBA-Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena. JUN MENDOZA


MANILA, Philippines - Gilas Pilipinas fed on the energy of the roaring, flag-waving cheering fans and then leaned on wondrous quartercourt shooting and a big fighting heart to beat a scrappy Kazakhstan, 88-58, in their knockout duel for a Final Four seat in the FIBA-Asia Championship at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City last night.

With the victory, the Filipinos moved within a win of clinching a first World Cup berth in 40 years in a thrilling quarterfinal knockout that saw Iran's ruthless 94-50 demolition of Jordan and Chinese-Taipei's historic 96-78 win over defending champion China.

Now the Gilas 5 advanced to the semis against the winner of the South Korea-Qatar matchup being played at presstime. And at the rate they dominated the Kazakhs, the Filipinos appeared even ready now for their perennial rivals.

They were a far cry from the listless squad that squeezed through the Hong Kong contest as they started brimming with confidence and firepower they unleashed and sustained with relentless pace all throughout.

Gary David rediscovered his touch and the whole Gilas team brandished its best game in seven nights, cutting down to size the tall Kazakhstan team.

The Nationals rattled the Kazakhs early with a defensive press and were as menacing on the offensive end as they utterly dominated the gangling Central Asian team, pulling off the rousing victory that assured Team Phl of two cracks at a World Cup berth.

With a win today or tomorrow, Gilas Pilipinas joins the global cast that slugs it out in six cities in Spain next year.

Iran and Chinese Taipei, beating Jordan and China, respectively, in their own quarters matches, face off in the other Final Four tiff.

The home crowd roared thunderously as the game barker hollered: "The Philippines is moving to the semifinal round."

Then they chanted "Gary! Gary! Gary!," acknowledging David's big explosion following a struggle through the team's first six games.

The Globalport hitman knocked in his first three-point attempts and went on to topscore with 22 points on 7-of-11 overall field shooting.

Jayson Castro, Gabe Norwood and Japeth Aguilar contributed double-digit markers while Marcus Douthit endured a bruised knee, collaring 10 rebounds and adding five points.

The rest put in their share as Gilas got going, gaining a second straight semis passage in the biennial meet.

The Filipinos disposed of the Kazakhs, leading from start to finish.

Gilas Pilipinas jumped the gun on Kazakhstan, 32-13, as the Nationals started the game with a defensive press as they'd never done in all their previous matches.

Weary by the second quarter, Gilas saw its lapses pounded by the Kazakhs to charge to within six at 38-44.

The Nationals restored a double-digit spread at 51-38 on a two-handed jam by Marcus Douthit, a trey from Gabe Norwood and two charities from Japeth Aguilar.

Gilas kept Kazakhstan from getting its game going early with Norwood and Jayson Castro alternating on shackling star Kazakh naturalized guard Jerry Johnson.

The Gilas second group - Aguilar, Castro, David, Ranidel de Ocampo and Larry Fonacier - worked on crucial defensive stoppages that they translated into successive breakaway layups as the Nationals again widened the gap, 67-49, at the end of the third.

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Saturday, August 10, 2013 @ MOA Arena
5:45 PM - Semifinal Round
Iran vs Chinese Taipei
8:00 PM - Semifinal Round
Philippines vs Korea