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Gilas five bows to India in opener

Game Today (Tehran, Iran)
7:45 p.m. – Philippines vs Taiwan

The new era of Gilas Pilipinas started on the wrong foot early yesterday after the all-amateur squad absorbed a humbling 91-83 loss to India at the start of the FIBA Asia Challenge in Tehran, Iran.

Gilas failed to sustain a 25-16 first quarter lead as India slowly clawed its way back before halftime, then unleashed a strong second half showing to post one of the biggest wins in the South Asia nation’s basketball history.

Amjyot Singh and Vishesh Bhriguvanshi provided the big blows for the Indians to hand Gilas a harsh setback in its first game paraded by a collection of some of the Philippines’ top amateur standouts.

Singh finished with 24 points and 18 rebounds while Bhriguvanshi added 20 points, six rebounds and three steals for India, which in recent years has gained significant steps in the hope of becoming one Asia’s top teams.

Prior to beating Gilas, India stunned host China in the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan and last year reached the quarterfinal round of the FIBA Asia Championship in Changsha.

Mac Belo finished with 21 points and five rebounds while Ed Daquioag added 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the national cagers coached by Josh Reyes.

Gilas can’t afford to end its Group B with another loss, especially against Taiwan in tonight’s 7:45 p.m. match. No team will be eliminated from the group but the Filipinos look to split the first two games before entering the second round against China, Kazakhstan and Jordan.

Daquioag capped off a strong first quarter by Gilas with a buzzer-beating triple to make it 25-16, but India outscored Gilas, 31-21, in the second quarter to take a 47-46 halftime lead.

Gilas took its last lead at 53-52 on a basket by Roger Pogoy before Singh led an 11-0 run to put India ahead 64-53 with over two minutes to play in the third.

INDIA 91 – Amj. Singh 24, Bhriguvanshi 20, Amr. Singh 16, T. Singh 15, Sivakumar 10, Bhullar 5, Pari 1, Y. Singh 0.

PHILIPPINES 83 – Belo 21, Daquioag 15, Escoto 11, Cruz 8, Pogoy 7, Perez 6, Ferrer 3, Gotladera 2, Van Opstal 0, Javier 0, Pessumal 0.

Quarters: 16-25; 47-46; 68-58; 91-83.