No graceful exit for Gilas


Iran delivered a masterclass as it booked a 95-75 win to deny Gilas Pilipinas a graceful exit in the FIBA Basketball World Cup Sunday night at the Wukesong Sports Arena in Beijing.

Hamed Haddadi posted 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks as he made his presence felt in the second quarter where the Iranians dropped a 14-3 bomb to rip the game wide open.

With the win – and China’s loss to Nigeria in the other quarterfinal battle – Iran emerged as the top Asian team that would be awarded an automatic slot in the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Gilas, for their part, would go home with an embarrassing 0-5 record that would definitely prompt federation officials to launch a review of the entire men’s basketball program.

Robert Bolick was the lone bright spot with 15 points while naturalized player Andray Blatche delivered 12 points, five rebounds and five assists before being ejected after being slapped with his second technical foul.

Gilas appeared to be headed for a close game as they nailed six three-pointers to stay within striking distance, 24-30, but their offense conked out as Haddadi engineered a furious rally to enter the half with a 48-34 lead.

The Iranians kept their momentum the rest of the way while the Filipinos fell to a maze of errors, leading to another humiliating setback