Qatar hands Gilas first loss in Asiad quarterfinals

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It looks like a tough journey for the Philippines as it lost its first quarterfinals match against Qatar, 77-68, at the basketball tournament of the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea Friday evening.

Qatar relied on a 17-0 run in the third quarter to put the boards at 51-39 to level the Philippines.

Jimmy Alapag, the unquestioned leader, tried to give Gilas a push with three straight triples in the fourth to put the boards at 56-51 in the third period.

Qatar, however, won’t let go, building a nine-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth, 68-59.

Alapag led the Philippines with 15 points, all of which came from deep.

Marcys Douthit added 10 points and five boards while Jeff Chan delivered seven points.

Mohd Mohammed had 19 points, eight rebounds and five steals for Qatar which now has to win one more match to secure a semifinals berth.

Boney Watson had 15 points with Daoud Musa adding 11.

To book a semifinals berth, the Philippines has to win its next two games against South Korea and Kazakhstan. (Inquirer.net)

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The Philippines groped for an A-game that was the hallmark of its World Cup success and found none against a hot-shooting Qatar five and placed itself at the brink of an early exit from the Asian Games basketball competitions.

Qatar fired long-range missiles early in the third quarter to turn the game around and kept a Philippine team at bay till the last second to score a 77-68 victory and gain the much needed headstart in its bid for a semifinal berth in Group B of the quarterfinals late last night at the Hwaseong Sports Complex.

Trailing 36-39 at the turn, Qatar fired 15 unanswered points all from the three-point area in a five-minute span, three coming from Mohamed Mohd and one each from Mohamed Mohamed Hassan and naturalized player Boney Harld Watson as the Qataris zoomed to a 51-39 lead and never relented on their way to a smashing victory.

The Filipinos fell into a maze of errors, most of them bungled passes on Marcus Douthit and their big men and managed to score only three charities on their possessions in the next three minutes.

National coach Chot Reyes never hid his disappointment over the erratic game of his wards and was even more vocal about his big men, particularly Douthit, whom he was relying on as an able replacement for World Cup slotman Andray Blatche.

“All of us are disappointed at Marcus. Am going to ask Marcus if he doesn’t want to play, we will go all-Filipino. If he wants to go home, he can go home. I don’t think it was an issue of fatigue. I think it was more an issue of desire,” said Reyes.

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“That’s the problem we have. If we play against a shooting big man, Marcus is an inside player – same with (JunMar) Fajardo – they can’t defend big man shooters.”

He added that his team is not the same team that played miracle games in the World Cup.

“I’m not worried about who we are playing. I’m worried about my team. It’s not just about Marcus. We have a bunch of players who’re not ready,” he rued.

As his men played out of sync, Reyes kept fielding new players hoping he could get points off the bench.

Even as Jimmy Alapag came in for Jeff Chan to fire three consecutive triples to reduce the lead to 51-56, the Qataris kept firing on all cylinders, with Ali Saeed Erfan presiding over the Qatar offensive with seven points in a 13-8 run to keep Qatar safely ahead at 69-59, with 4:25 left in the game.

Douthit and Chan reduced the lead to 65-70 but Watson and Mohamed countered with yet four more points to make it 74-65 with only 1:26 left to play.

An Alapag trey in the next ball possession trimmed the lead anew to 68-74 in the last minute of play but Pingris and Paul Lee made fumbling passes and the lead remained unchanged until the last 28 seconds of play.

Daoud Mouse put the game beyond doubt with two charities off a foul by Chan with barely 19.4 seconds left as Pingris again failed to catch a Chan pass that bounced between his legs with time dwindling down. (Philstar.com)

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