|Photo courtesy of FIBA.com|
One more game won, two more games to win.
Gilas Pilipinas completed the Final Four cast fo the FIBA Asia Championships, with their 82-70 victory over the Lebanon Cedars. They will go on to once again face Japan for a seat in the finals.
Here’s a look back at some predictions made in the an earlier article (to read “Gilas vs Lebanon: Not A Mismatch”, go to http://sportsfandom.blogspot.com/2015/09/gilas-vs-lebanon-not-mismatch.html)
MATCH UPS TO WATCH OUT FOR
JJ Youngblood vs Gabe Norwood/Calvin Abueva – as predicted, it was Gabe Norwood and Calvin Abueva who took on the high scoring guard, which mean the smaller Hontiveros ahd to toake on the much bigger Amir Saoud. The Lebanese tried to exploit this early on, leading to the quick entry of Abueva into the game. Abueva and Norwoord hounded into a 12 point brickfest (5-15), a full 7 points below his scoring average before this game. On the other end, Norwood hit a crucial three to give Gilas some breathing room in the third quarter while Abueva was his usual pesky self on the boards and on defense.
Mohamad Ali Haidar vs Andray Blatche – Again, as predicted, both stars shone bright tonight, with Haidar scoring 18points and grabbing 9 rebounds, and Blatche scoring 24 points and grabbing 17 rebounds, including several offensive rebounds that put Lebanon into foul trouble midway through the final quarter. Blatche came out a bit ahead of Haidar in this match up, but the Lebanese also showed real superstar skill and talent.
Amir Saoud vs Jayson Castro – I said that for either team to forge ahead, either Castro or Saoud would have to be more disruptive on defense or even more unstoppable on offense. Castro became both. Yes, Castro basically demolished Saoud. And not just Saoud. To be totally honest, Castro chewed up and spit out the entire Lebanese defense, spinning the, around for quick lay ins and freezing them with a stop and poop at the three that was a deadly as a cobra’s venom. He topscored for the Philippines with 25 points, going 5-10 from three and 5-7 from two. More importantly, he took charge just when Lebanon mounted a comeback, breaking the game open with timely threes as well as steals.
I predicted an 85-70 win for Gilas. Actual score was 82-70. I really should get my crystal ball cleaned. J
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