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article imagePalestine shocks Gilas Pilipinas in FIBA Asia opening game

By Leo Reyes     Sep 23, 2015 in Sports
FIBA Asia neophyte Palestine made a dramatic debut in the FIBA Asia qualifying game by pulling off an upset win against Gilas Pilipinas in the opening game Wednesday at the the Changsha Social Work College’s Gymnasium in Changsha, China.
Gilas was dominating the game from the opening quarter up to the end of the third quarter when Palestine suddenly came from behind with a series of three-point shots that found their marks in the closing minutes of the last quarter.
The Philippine team was still ahead at the start of the last quarter but lost control when three of the leading scorers of Palestine suddenly became flawless in their shooting from the outside to lead their team by two points for a shocking 75-73 victory.
In the first quarter, Andray Blatche played for six minutes early to give Gilas a double-digit lead going into the closing minute of the opening quarter. Coach Tab Baldwin gave Blatche about a minute's break and resumed playing for the rest of the quarter to give Gilas a 13-point lead at 27-12 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Blatche continue to assert his dominance in the shaded area, earning free throws in the process as the Palestinians gang up on him.
Early in the second quarter Blatche committed two successive fouls and was immediately replaced by Asi Taulava. Gilas continue to pile up points on free throws as Palestine made a series of traveling violations as they were under penalty for various offenses.
Palestine was closely trailing Gilas in the second quarter when JC Intal made a three-point shot at a little over a minute before the end of the first half which ended at 45-40 in favor of Gilas.
Third quarter was a give and take game that ended with Gilas still holding on to a four point lead at 59-55.
Coach Baldwin sent both Taulava and Blatche to the court early in the fourth quarter for offensive rebounds which paid off as JC Intal did a three-point shot halfway to the last quarter.
Gilas had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter but precise three-point shooting by the Palestinians in the closing minutes of the game made the difference as Gilas ran out of time to earn a possible overtime with just a little over a second left in the game.
Gilas Gilas will face Hong Kong at 9:30 a.m. Thursday for its second game in Group B.
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