Gilas Pilipinas relied on naturalized center Andray Blatche as they secure the 93-75 victory against Kazakhstan in their final FIBA World Cup Qualifier match.
Blatche put the Philippines on his back as he single-handedly kept them in the game during the first two quarters, before guard Jayson Castro William sparked a late third quarter run that allowed the Filipinos to slowly pull away.
Determined to punch one of the last tickets to the World Cup, the Philippine side continued to play inspired in the final quarter, never taking their foot off the pedal. They built their biggest lead of the game at 93-73 after Paul Lee Dalistan hit a three with 1:47 remaining in the game.
Even after Gilas Pilipinas’ win against the Steppen Wolves, they had South Korea to thank after the latter dispatched Lebanon, allowing the Philippines to qualify to the World Cup as the best fourth placed team.
Blatche led all scorers with 41 points, while adding 13 rebounds and two blocked shots. Jayson Castro William added 15 points, eight of which came in a pivotal run in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, naturalized guard Anthony Clemmons led Kazakhstan with 27 points and nine assists, while Dmitriy Gavrilov and Rustam Yergali added a combined 23 points in the loss.
New Zealand, South Korea, Jordan, and host nation China (automatic qualification) will come out of Group E, while Australia, Japan, Iran, and the best fourth placed team the Philippines will complete the cast of Asian teams participating in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball in August.
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