New Zealand thwarted repeated rallies by Gilas Pilipinas to hack out an 89-80 win on the second day of the 2015 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and dash the hopes of the Philippines to Rio.
Gilas was able to whittle down the Tall Blacks lead to a solitary point, 60-59 in the fourth quarter. But a big finishing kick anchored on Tom Abercrombie, Isaac Fotu, and the Webster brothers was all the Kiwis needed as they outscored the Filipinos, 29-21.
Tai Webster starred for the Tall Blacks, collecting 25 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists. New Zealand will next face France tomorrow with the winner entering the semifinals as the top seed for Group B.
In the other match, Canada escaped a stubborn Senegal squad (58-55) to advance to the semifinals. Senegal had a golden chance to pull off a stunner following a three-pointer by Maurice Ndour to whittle down the Canada lead to 2 (55-53).
Following a missed offensive by Canada, Clevin Hannah opted for a three point shot with about 21 seconds remaining which failed to go in. After a Canada split from the free throw stripe, Hannah hoisted another trey that failed to go in as well.