August 13, 2017

The win on Day 4 against Iraq ensured that Gilas Pilipinas would not only top the group but, more importantly, automatically make it to the quarter-finals. Gilas is now seeded in the Top 8, and will await the winner of the clash between Group D's 2nd place team (probably Japan) and Group C's 3rd place team (probably Korea).

- Gilas had a rousing win on Day 4 against Iraq, but they had to buckle down in the 2nd half and withstand a slow start. Unlike their game against China where they waxed hot early and often, Gilas slogged through the first half before finding their rhythm in the 3rd quarter and pulling away. They certainly would not want a slow start again here against the Qataris, who may be undermanned, but still have the potential to spring an upset.

- Qatar was supposed to have the services of naturalized player Sammy Monroe, but an injury and eligibility issues prevented the former PBA import from seeing action. That is maybe the biggest reason Qatar is 0-2 entering this game. Their single best perimeter scorer and facilitator was sidelined, and they had to make do with a team composed of a hodge-podge of up-and-comers and veterans. Still, they have decent size, depth, and shooting, so Gilas must not treat this as an automatic win despite all of Qatar's handicaps.

Terrence Romeo - 5'10 - G
Carl Cruz - 6'3 - F
Gabe Norwood - 6'5 - F
Jio Jalalon - 5'8 - G
Jayson Castro - 5'10 - G
Calvin Abueva - 6'2 - F
June Mar Fajardo - 6'10 - C
RR Pogoy - 6'0 - G
Raymond Almazan - 6'7 - C
Japeth Aguilar - 6'10 - F/C
Christian Standhardinger - 6'8 - F/C
Matthew Wright - 6'2 - G
Ave. Height - 6'3
Sponsored content:
Ave. Age - 28

QATAR roster
Abdulrahman Saad - 21 - 6'1 - G - Al Gharafa
Ahmad Al-Darwish - 27 - 6'2 - G - Al Wakrah
Mansour El Hadary - 27 - 5'10 - G - El Jaish
Hassan Mohamed (Mizo Amin) - 26 - 6'3 - G - Al Rayyan
Abdularhman Al-Muftah - 22 - 5'11 - G - Al Ahli
Erfan Ali Saeed - 33 - 6'6 - F - El Jeish
Yehia Abdelhaleem - 21 - 6'9 - C /F- Al Rayyan
Mohd Yousuf Mohammed - 34 - 6'9 - C - El Jeish
Omer Salem - 33 - 6'9 - C - Al Gharafa
Mohamed Abdelkawy - 21 - 5'10 - G - Al Rayyan
Nasser Al-Rayes - 22 - 6'10 - C - Cal Tech (USA)
Ave. Height - 6'4
Ave. Age - 26

Game Notes:
- When the going got tough for Gilas, it was Christian "Wild Thing" Standhardinger who stepped up and carried the slack. The 6'8 Fil-German scored 12 of his 16 points in the pivotal 3rd quarter for Gilas, sparking their game-changing run and leaving Iraq in the dust. Standhardinger has shown great grit and versatility so far in the tournament, drawing comparisons to former Gilas stalwart Marc Pingris, only 4 inches taller. If Christian can continue playing this well, Gilas will miss June Mar Fajardo's presence less and less.

Stats: 15.5ppg, 6.5rpg, 66.7 FG%.
vs IRQ: 16pts, 7rebs, 6/10 FGs.

- Terrence Romeo continues to baffle opposing teams, and it's not because of his long flowing hair. Bro has been really awesome so far, leading Gilas in scoring and also being among the top 3 scorers in the entire competition. He had a slow start against IRQ, but he picked it up in the second half, scoring 14 of his 17 total points. Needless to say, he is the backbone of Gilas's second unit, and if he scores a ton again, it could be lights out early for the Qataris.

Stats: 21.5ppg, 4.0apg, 1.0spg, 3.5 triples per game, 48.3 FG%.

- Japeth Aguilar has thrived in the absence of June Mar Fajardo. As the team's tallest player, he has matched up with opposing centers, but the Ginebra big man has shown great versatility and resiliency. He has not been scoring in bunches, yes, but he has been holding his own in terms of rebounding and, more importantly, rim protection. He leads the tournament in blocks so far, and if he can continue to be an effective last line of defense for Gilas, Qatar will find it tough to score around the basket.

Blocks: 3.5bpg - #1 in the tournament
vs CHN - 5
vs IRQ - 2

Stats: 6.0ppg, 5.0rpg, 3.5bpg, 55.6 FG%.

- In both their wins so far, Gilas has shown great defensive tenacity and toughness. They forced 15 turnovers agains China and followed that up forcing 17 against Iraq. All this while committing just 12.5 turnovers per game on their own front. Defense fuels the team's fastbreak attack, so it is tremendously crucial. It goes without saying that Gilas's defense needs to be on point if they want to have a convincing win over Qatar.

vs China - forced 15 TOs, committed 12 TOs, had +3 fastbreak pts
vs Iraq - forced 17 TOs, committed 13 TOs, had +8 fastbreak pts

- With no Sammy Monroe and getting little production from their veterans, QAT has had to rely on young gun Abdulrahman Saad for their scoring. Saad is only 21 years old, but he already leads this team in scoring and is seen as the future of Qatari hoops. He is a veteran of their 3x3 team and draws a lot of comparisons to Terrence Romeo because of his flamboyant style of play. Saad can finish strong in the lane or shoot from long distance, and if he is allowed to have his way, QAT may be in a position to win by the game's end.

Stats: 21.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 3.0apg, 2.0spg, 47.1 FG%.
vs CHN: 19pts, 3rebs, 3asts, 2stls, 1 triple.

- QAT had a lot of trouble against a bigger, younger, and quicker CHN team, and it showed in the box scores. Their fastbreak defense, in particular, was quite atrocious. QAT allowed CHN to outscore them in transition by 7 points, which they cannot afford to repeat against Gilas, who thrive on the break as well. If QAT wants to keep this game close and the point spread respectable, they need to tighten up their defensive screws, especially on the break.

vs CHN:
Fastbreak pts: CHN 16, QAT 9