Gilas still on race; Kazakhstan ambushes Qatar
Gerry Carpio (The Philippine Star) - September 28, 2014 - 12:00am

Games today (Hwaseong Sports Complex)

3:15 p.m – Phl vs Kazakhstan

7:45 p.m. – Kor vs Qatar

Samsan World Gymnasium

3:15 p.m – Iran vs China

7:45 p.m. – Mongolia vs Japan


INCHEON, South Korea – Kazakhstan held off Qatar, 65-57, yesterday and gave the Philippines one more chance, slim as it may be, to claim the second slot in the semifinals when they meet today at the close of the quarterfinals at the Hwaseong Sports Complex.

The Kazakhs and Qataris were tied at 1-1, with the Philippines at 0-2, behind the 2-0 of Korea, which is already seeded into the semifinals. The Philippines guns for a must-win against Kazakhstan and hopes that Korea beats Qatar also today to force a three-way tie at 1-2 with Kazakhstan and Qatar and win by at least 11 points to prevail in the tiebreak on the points differential. 

“That’s why in our game against Korea, we wanted to win by a good margin or lose by a small one in case of a tie,” said coach Chot Reyes during the post-game conference of the Phl-Korea match.

Although Kazakhstan is visibly spent from its seventh straight game in as many days since the preliminaries – three in the first round, two in the second and two in the quarterfinal – Reyes is not taking the Central Asian country lightly.

Kazakhstan and Mongolia were the only teams to reach the quarterfinal from the first round but Kazakhstan is expected to put in its best performance to finish with a 2-1 card and gain the outright second slot.

Kazakhstan went full throttle in the second round to blast Chinese Taipei, 74-68, to advance to the quarters.

Dimitriy Gavrilov, who scored 19 points against Korea, fired a game high 22 points in leading Kazakhstan. Anatoly Kolesnikov and Anton Ponomarev had 17 and 13, Kazakhstan is taller than the Philippines (average 6-4) with an average height  of 6-6, with Ponomarev the tallest at 6-10 and its point guard Timur Sultanov standing 5-10. After Sultanov the smallest Kazakhstan players are 6-5  Savchenko and Rustam Murzagaliyev. 

Kazakhstan, known for players who can shoot and defend, will be using Ponomarev and Gavrilov (6-8) as its main line of defense against the shorter Filipinos.

If the height and fatigue factors are main considerations in Reyes’ approach to the game, he will be using more of his short players in LA Tenorio, Jimmy Alapag, Jeff Chang, Paul Lee, Gary David and Gabe Norwood, who can play three positions, for a run-and-gun game which proved effective since their stint in the World Cup.

Douthit should be back in harness to provide the Filipinos inside strength, if the suspension is lifted today, with backup support from power forward JunMar Fajardo, Ranidel de Ocampo and Marc Pingris with bench support from Japeth Aguilar and Jared Dillinger.

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