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Blatche-less Kashgar rips Chooks-PH

Chooks To Go Pilipinas gave defending champion China Kashgar everything it can before running out of steam in the second half to suffer an 86-70 quarterfinal loss Thursday that ended its title chances in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup at the Chenzhou Sports Center in Chenzhou, China.

The Filipino squad made the game tight in the first half, even tying the score at 39-all against the fancied Chinese Basketball Association champions that played without Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player Andray Blatche.

But defensive lapses allowed China Kashgar, also known as the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, to take a 45-39 halftime lead when Mugedaer Xireljiang drained a triple and Darius Adams hitting a buzzer-beating three from the right elbow that virtually crushed Chooks To Go’s momentum.

China Kashgar took command of the second half, building a 21-point lead that Chooks To Go never recovered.

“Proud of the guys’ effort, pero hanggang doon lang talaga,” tweeted Chooks To Go coach Chot Reyes minutes after the loss.

The loss relegated Chooks To Go to the classification round for fifth to eighth places. It was playing Shabab Al-Ahli of United Arab Emirates at presstime. The winner meets either the Taipei Dacin Tigers of Thailand’s Mono Vampire for fifth place.

Seven-foot-one import Isaiah Austin had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Chooks To Go, but never got a chance to face Blatche in what could have been a matchup between possibly the past and future naturalized cagers of Gilas.

Blatche, who watched the game on the China Kashgar bench in street clothes, later told Sports5 that he couldn’t see himself playing against their Filipino opponents.

“I can’t play against my Filipino people,” said Blatche, who joined the Chooks To Go huddle after the game.

Kiefer Ravena had 16 points and three assists while Carl Bryan Cruz scored 10 points but went 1-of-10 from three-point country.