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Gilas Pilipinas Defeats Iraq to Earn 2nd-Straight Win in 2017 FIBA Asia Cup

On the strength of a third-quarter outburst, Gilas Pilipinas defeated Iraq 84-68 to improve to 2-0 in Group B play at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon.

The Philippines led by just one point at halftime, but they outscored Iraq 28-9 in the third quarter to build a lead that they never relinquished.

34 Christian Karl Standhardinger (PHI) - Philippines v Iraq, 2017 FIBA Asia Cup (LBN), Beirut(LBN), Group Phase, 11 August 2017
Iraq was essentially a one-man show, as guard Kevin Galloway led all scorers with 23 points to go along with 14 rebounds and six assists without much support from his teammates.

Guard Terrence Romeo turned in another solid performance for the Philippines with a team-high 17 points, but five other Gilas players scored at least eight points as well, which made the difference.

Both teams struggled mightily from a shooting perspective with the Philippines making just 37.8 percent of their attempts from the field, although they did connect at a 41.4 percent clip from beyond the arc.

Iraq made 35.9 percent of its shots from the field, and it also had a difficult time at the free-throw line, shooting just 53.3 percent.

While Iraq led by two points after the first quarter, Gilas chipped away and managed to take a narrow, one-point lead into the locker room.

Neither side was particularly strong offensively in the second quarter, but guard Jayson Castro took matters into his own hands on this play, courtesy of Sports5, by dishing out one of his team-high six assists:
The third quarter completely swung the momentum in the Philippines' favor, as they finally broke out with 28 points in the frame, while Iraq could hardly make a shot.

One of the biggest reasons for Iraq's issues in the quarter was the fact that Galloway went cold from the field.

In fact, he was unable to net a single point after scoring nearly half of Iraq's points in the opening half, according to Chuck Araneta of Sports5:
Gilas led by 20 points after three quarters of play, and there was little Iraq could do to dig out of the hole in the fourth quarter.

Iraq did manage 28 points in the final frame, as Galloway found his shooting stroke again, but it couldn't stop the Philippines and took a 16-point loss.

The Philippines have been impressive during a 2-0 start, but Araneta pointed out that they can stand to get even better:
Star guard Calvin Abueva had just three points in the win, and Gilas are far more dangerous when he is on his game.

Even so, the Philippines are now just one win away from clinching a spot in the quarterfinals, and they will have a chance to pick up that victory against Qatar on Sunday.

Iraq will face China on Sunday, and provided Gilas defeat Qatar as expected, both Iraq and China will advance to the playoff round for an opportunity to make the quarters as well.

Author: Mike Chiari
Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2726930-gilas-pilipinas-defeats-iraq-to-earn-2nd-straight-win-in-2017-fiba-asia-cup

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