(UPDATED) Terrence Romeo scored 17 points and Christian Standhardinger added 16, as the big-man, small-man combination keyed a third-quarter blitz to lead the Philippines to an 84-68 victory over Iraq in the FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon on Friday.
Gilas Pilipinas now leads Group B with a 2-0 record, and has secured first place and automatic passage through the quarterfinals no matter the result of its final pool assignment, against Qatar on Sunday.
Iraq and China, both 1-1, also play each other on Sunday. China defeated Qatar 92-67 earlier on Friday.
Compared to its victory on Wednesday over China that was marked by a flawless start, the Philippines was anything but perfect in the early goings against Iraq at Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex.
Gilas' shots weren't falling and the Filipinos were constantly outhustled for loose balls, leading to a mere 32 points and just a one-point lead over Iraq at halftime.
But Iraq's defense started to loosen up in the third quarter, and that's when Gilas began to make its move.
A personal 7-0 run by Standhardinger broke a tied game to give the Philippines a 42-35 lead, before Romeo added 7 more to make it 49-35.
Overall, the Philippines strung together 21 straight points to go up 56-35, while holding Iraq scoreless for 7 1/2 minutes.
In the same quarter, Gilas limited Iraq to only 2 field goals and outscored the Middle Eastern side 29-8.
Carl Bryan Cruz added 11 points on 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point land, while Gabe Norwood chipped in 8 points and 7 rebounds.
It was Norwood, too, who primarily contained Kevin Galloway, Iraq's top scorer. Galloway finished with 23 points, but was largely ineffective in the second half.
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