Lebanon bow out of FIBA Asia Championship after Philippines loss

Lebanon bow out of FIBA Asia Championship after Philippines loss
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Published October 2nd, 2015 - 13:27 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Source: FIBA.com
Source: FIBA.com

Lebanon bowed out of the Asian Championship Thursday after losing at the hands of the Philippines 82-70 in the quarterfinals. The Cedars, aiming to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2009 and sixth time in their history, were outplayed by their opponents for large parts of the game.

The Lebanese fought bravely from start to finish and despite trailing by 14 points, they managed to cut the deficit to just four midway through the final quarter.

But the Philippines, who lost to Iran in the title game two years ago and then played at last year’s FIBA Basketball World Cup, held firm.

After Lebanon closed the gap to four points with a basket from Wael Arakji with 5:46 remaining, Andray Blatche made two free-throws and added a jumper as part of a 6-0 run that gave the Philippines some breathing room. Lebanon kept the pressure on but could not get closer than seven points the rest of the way.

Unfortunately for Lebanon, they made just 10 of 18 free-throws and the Philippines’ bench outscored the Lebanese reserves 25-8.

Apart from that, Tab Baldwin’s team managed to paralyze the Lebanese backcourt line, as Youngblood struggled to drive his way to the basket like he does best, but that was offset by both Haidar and Bawji who had brilliant games, scoring a combined 35 points.

Meanwhile, Philippines used their quickness through their backcourt duo Jayson Casto and Terrence Romeo to hit crucial shots, while helped by the efficiency of American naturalized Blatche.

Jayson Castro hit 25 points including 12 in the first quarter for Philippines, while former NBA player Andray Blatche added 24 points and 17 rebounds.

Bassel Bawji hit a double-double for Lebanon with 17 points and 13 rebounds, Ali Haidar added 18 points and nine rebounds while Jay Youngblood who wasn’t at his usual best with a disappointing 12 points.

Philippines will face Japan, who defeated Qatar 81-67, in the semifinals, while defending champions Iran will take on hosts China in the other semifinal tie.

Lebanon, however, will play for positions fifth to eighth, and will face Qatar Friday.

Only the winner of the tournament will qualify directly to the 2016 Rio Olympics while teams ranked from second to fourth will participate in July’s pre-Olympics tournament.

Copyright © 2015, The Daily Star. All rights reserved.

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