Gilas edges Japan in World Cup qualifier

Gilas Pilipinas had their work cut out for them as they held off a relentless Japan squad, 77-71, to kickoff their campaign for a World Cup slot last November 25 in Tokyo.

Japeth Aguilar of Gilas Pilipinas goes for the dunk during the WC qualifiers in Tokyo. (Photo courtesy:

The Filipinos raced to a 14-point lead but the Japanese came storming back in the third canto and momentarily took the lead in the early moments of the quarter.

Jayson Castro once again proved why he is Asia’s best point guard as he converted crucial baskets down the stretch while RR Pogoy and Gabe Norwood hustle plays gave Japan trouble enroute to the victory.

Castro led the victors with 20 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and a steal in 29 minutes.

Andray Blatche overcame a sluggish start and finished with 13 markers, 12 boards, five assists, three steals, and three blocked shots with six turnovers.

Japan was paced by Makoto Hiejima with 20 points while naturalized import Ira Brown added 10 markers.


The scores:

Philippines (77) – Castro 20, Blatche 13, Wright 12, Norwood 10, Fajardo 6, Aguilar 5, Abueva 5, Pogoy 5, Ravena 1, Alas 0, Rosario 0.

Japan (71) – Hiejima 20, Brown 10, Tanaka 10, Togashi 8, Baba 7, Harimoto 7, Shinoyama 4, J. Takeuchi 3, Ota 2, Furukawa 0, Uto 0.

Quarterscores: 18-10, 37-28, 59-55, 77-71.



Game highlights:



Aris Ignacio is from the Philippines and has always been a big fan of Philippine basketball. Aris’ follows the Philippine Basketball Association since the late 80’s and has learned the history and personalities of the PBA. He also has interest with other basketball tournaments in the Philippines and beyond most specifically college basketball (UAAP, NCAA), the Asian Basketball League (ABL), FIBA Asia and World Cup tournaments. Global Basketball is Aris’ second writing assignment besides Follow Aris Ignacio on Twitter at aris_ignacio.

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