Philippine Team rips Iraq, 84-68

August 12, 2017

Gilas Pilipinas unleashed backbreaking run in its return from the halftime huddle and rolled past Iraq, 84-68, to secure an outright Final Eight passage in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup at the Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut Friday night.

The Nationals struggled against the tall, rugged Iraqi side in the first half, even trailing most of the way – the largest by six at 22-28.

But having sized up the Iraqis in the first 20 minutes of play, the Nationals hit the gaps in the second half and uncorked 19-0 salvo to highlight their second-half rampage.

Christian Standhardinger and Terrence Romeo stood out in the vicious attack that had the Nationals essentially wrapping up the win in the third quarter that brought cheer to the Filipino fans in the gallery.

The Fil-German forward scored 10 of his 16 points in the third while Romeo made 11 of his 17 in the same frame as they led Gilas to a follow-up to their 96-87 conquest of China on Wednesday.

Those wins assured Team Phl of an automatic entry into the Final Eight as the Group B top notcher.

Nonetheless, Team Phl goes up for a sweep of Group B play versus winless Qatar (0-2) Sunday.

China (1-1) and Iraq (1-1) dispute second and third spots in the group in their crucial setto also on Sunday.

The Chinese bounced back from their loss to the Filipinos with a 75-66 drubbing of the Qataris.

Gabe Norwood, Carl Bryan Cruz, RR Pogoy and Matthew Wright also played stellar roles as the Nationals sustained their wondrous showing in the Asian meet.

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Cruz, Pogoy and Wright combined for 28 markers mostly from afar while Norwood proved to be a big key on his defensive effort on Iraqi naturalized player Kevin Galloway whom he stopped in the third quarter after dominating with near triple-double numbers right in the first half.

Galloway, a one-time US NCAA Southwestern Athletic Conference first-teamer, came up with 15 points, nine rebounds, six assists and two steals as the Iraqis set the pace most of the first half.

The Nationals banked on six clutch treys as they stayed right behind the Iraqis before grabbing the lead at the turn at 32-31.

The Iraqis were still right there in the battle at 35-37 when the Filipinos suddenly exploded with a 19-to-nothing salvo to open the 56-35 bulge.

Galloway and his teammates failed to score a basket in an eight-minute stretch and failed to recover from there.

Struggling with a 1-of-7 clip in the first half, Romeo went on a big turnaround in the third quarter, highlighting his exploits with an acrobatic reverse layup off a steal, a looper off a 6-foot-10 defender then a booming trey also off a tall defender.

The scores:
Philippines 84 – Romeo 17, Standhardinger 16, Cruz 11, Pogoy 9, Norwood 8, Wright 8, Aguilar 5, Jalalon 4, Abueva 3, Almazan 2, Castro 1.

Iraq 68 – Galloway 23, Hamzah 12, Al-Khapaji 8, Ismael 6, Hameed 5, Abdullah 3, Algburi 2, Dhafer 2, Talib 2, Aljuboori 0.

Quarterscores: 17-19, 32-31, 60-40, 84-68