The Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team failed to break through with a victory before packing up their 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign in China.
Gilas Pilipinas started the game on a mission but was eventually outclassed by Iran, 95-75.
After keeping up with the Iranians in the opening quarter, but the perennial Asian Cup medallists Iran flexed their muscle and gradually pulled away to close out the Filipinos in another blowout.
National team rookie Robert Bolick led the team in scoring with 15 points off 67 percent shooting from the floor, while naturalized player Andray Blatche finished with 12 points, five rebounds, five assists, and two steals in what could be his final game for the Philippines.
Finishing 0-5 after dropping all three Group Phase games and two Classification Round matches, the Philippine team was still reeling from a heartbreak defeat at the hands of Angola in overtime earlier in the week before falling to Iran in another landslide. They previously suffered three blowout losses against Italy, Serbia, and Tunisia.
Much to the dismay of both Filipino and also the Chinese fans at the arena, who were rooting for the Philippines to win in this particular game. Iran losing would have allowed China to secure a 2020 Summer Olympics berth as the team with the best from the Asian sub-zone.
The World Cup offers seven of the eight automatic seeds to next year’s Men’s basketball event in Tokyo, each awarded to the best place team from their respective continental zones: two for the Americas, two for Europe, and one each for Africa, Asia, and Oceania. Japan, as the hosts of the 2020 Games in Tokyo, also gets an automatic berth regardless of where they finish.
Any Philippine hopes to punch a ticket to the basketball tournament of 2020 Summer Olympic Games through this tournament are also gone, after the team missed out on being a part of the top 24 squads in the World Cup, who would have been eligible to play in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where there will be four more spots up for grabs to the quadrennial summer event.
The Philippines currently has the worst points differential among all teams at -147, while the next teams closest to the bottom are Jordan (-132) and Japan (-115). Both squads still has one game left to play in the Classification Round.
If Jordan manages to either win, or lose by 14 points or less against Senegal, and Japan loses to Montenegro by 32 points or less in their final matches, the Filipinos would have to live with the infamy of finishing last in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
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