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Can Iraq spring another upset against Philippines?

BEIRUT (FIBA Asia Cup 2017) - Iraq caught a big fish against Qatar on Day 2, but can they spring another huge upset against mighty Philippines on Day 4 of the Asia Cup?

The last time Iraq played the Philippines was a couple of weeks ago in the William Jones Cup 2017 in Chinese Taipei. That encounter featured one player ejection (Christian Standhardinger), one ankle broken, a slew of technical fouls and a lot of tempers flaring. In short, it was really intense and physical, and all indications point to the same thing happening again. Of course, this time, the Iraqis are hoping they will be the one dealing a blow against a Philippine squad still reveling in their victory over the Chinese two days ago.

Gilas Pilipinas vs. Iraq. FIBA photo
Key Matchups: Leading the charge for coach Mustafa Derin's squad will be naturalized player Kevin Galloway, who did not play in the Jones Cup. Galloway is a great fit for Iraq and has proven this in two international tournaments - the FIBA Asia Challenge 2016 and the WABA Championship 2017. At 2.00m, he has terrific size for a wingman and is big enough to be a small-ball power forward for Iraq. Hoping to stifle his efforts is going to be Gilas Pilipinas's top perimeter defender Gabe Norwood. Norwood was successful in limiting China's Zhou Peng in on Day 2, but he will have his hands full against a versatile, physical and aggressive Galloway, who can take over a game if left unchecked.

Key Stat: Three-point shooting is going to be a difference-maker in this contest. Both Iraq and Gilas shot well in their Day 2 victories, but it remains to be seen if that kind of torrid sniping will be sustainable. That applies more to the Filipinos, who shot a blistering 58% from the field, including 59% from beyond the arc, in their landmark win over China. If Iraq allows too many open shots in this game, Gilas will make them pay, so coach Derin's defensive rotations have to be tight. On the other end, should their long bombs not fall, coach Chot Reyes's wards need to find another way to put points on the board, but that may prove tough without naturalized player Andray Blatche and if three-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo does not play.

Source: http://www.fiba.com/asiacup/2017/news/can-iraq-spring-another-upset-against-philippines

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