Gilas Pilipinas needs to play a more matured game in the future.
National coach Yeng Guiao said this when he expressed his thoughts after Iran came up with a strong finish, held the Gilas Pilipinas scoreless in the final minute and pulled off a 78-70 triumph Monday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“We were holding on to a small lead. And they were on the verge of breaking out. But it just did not happen. And towards the endgame, I felt, that was a lack of maturity for our game,” said Guiao.
As the Philippines suffered its second straight setback in Group F of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers, Gilas will now have to win its last two games to stay in contention.
“It was not as cohesive as we wanted it at this point. The guys tried their best,” added Guiao.
Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi showed the way with 21 points for the Iranians, who posted their seventh victory in 10 games.
Jason Castro made 19 points for the Philippines, whose chances of qualifying are now in danger with their 5-5 win-loss record.
With the setback, Japan has overtaken the Philippines for third place (6-4) after its 86-70 win over Kazakhstan earlier in Toyama, Japan. Solo leader Australia (9-1) toppled Qatar, 110-59, in Melbourne.
Only the top 3 teams from Groups E and F will advance to the World Cup.
Gilas is slated to meet Qatar again on Feb. 21, and Kazakhstan on Feb. 24 in two must-win encounters.