BOCAUE (UPDATED) -- Gilas Pilipinas leaned on its hot shooting in the first three quarters before grinding it out in the payoff period to beat Lebanon, 107-96, in the FIBA Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
Justin Brownlee was impressive in his Gilas debut with 17 points, highlighted by back-to-back triples to start the ball rolling for Gilas in the first quarter.
Jamie Malonzo and Mason Amos added 15 and 13, respectively. They tallied three treys each as the nationals avenged their previous losses against the Cedars.
Jordan Heading and Ray Parks each had 10 markers.
Gilas drained 17 triples against Lebanon, which came in without several of its key players, including key forward Wael Arakji and big man Ali Haidar.
"Obviously we’re very satisfied with our offense. We shot the ball well and got 31 assists and only 13 turnovers. It allowed us to hit 17 three-pointers. Very good performance on the offensive end," said Gilas coach Chot Reyes.
Gilas took control of the first half, taking turns in firing shots from beyond the arc. Successive baskets by Brownlee and a long looper from June Mar Fajardo pushed the nationals ahead, 18-15. In the second quarter, it was Parks' turn to gun treys, although Amir Saoud had the Cedars fighting.
Brownlee capped the half with a dunk, giving Gilas a 53-41 halftime advantage.
Sergio El Darwich and Hayk Gyokchan stepped up for the Cedars in the third, but the nationals continued their scoring frenzy from the perimeter. Booming treys by Amos and Malonzo stretched the gap to its widest at 84-62.
"However, there’s still a lot left to be desired on our defense," said Reyes.
"We gave up almost 100 points to a team without Arakji, Haidar. It’s always the case, some things we’re happy about, some things are a learning experience for us."
"We need to be able to play better defense to come out and have a better performance against Jordan on Monday."
It was a no-bearing match as both squads already clinched berths in the World Cup. The Lebanese squad had beaten Gilas in their previous face-offs.
Prior to Friday's game, Lebanon beat the nationals, 85-81, despite the presence of Fil-Am NBA star Jordan Clarkson. The Cedars also frustrated Gilas in the FIBA Asia Cup in Jakarta, 95-80.