MANILA – Gilas Pilipinas opened its 2022 FIBA Asia Cup campaign on the wrong foot as they fell to Lebanon, 95-80, in Jakarta, Indonesia on Wednesday.
Wael Arakji led Lebanon with 20 markers while Hayk Gyokchyan and Jonathan Arledge added 38 combined points to give their country a 1-0 record in the league.
Meanwhile, SJ Belangel top-scored for the Philippines with 17 points. He got some support from Bobby Ray Parks and Carl Tamayo, who had 15 points apiece.
After an impressive first-quarter performance, Gilas surrendered the lead to Lebanon midway in the second period off a jumpshot made by Gerard Hadidian.
The Lebanese squad continued its run and built a 37-30 lead after another basket from Hadidian.
Just before the first-half ended, Thirdy Ravena sustained a cut above his left eye after a bad fall where his face hit the ground. He was wheelchaired out of the court. He returned to the match in the second half.
Lebanon strung more points right after the incident to end the second quarter with a 46-39 lead, outscoring the Philippines, 24-12.
A fade-away basket from Arledge at the 5:42 mark in the third stretched the lead to double digits, 61-51. The Lebanese spurt continued with Arakji’s layup and a free throw for a 21-point separation, 79-58.
Gilas had a mini-run in the payoff period with an 11-0 run, capped by a floater from Poy Erram at the 5:25 mark, 71-82.
The Philippines even cut the deficit to just 9 after a three-point play from Belangel, 74-83, but Gyokchyan halted the run with a finger roll, 85-74, with 3:25 left to play. A trip to the charity line by Arakji secured the win for Lebanon, restoring a 14-point gap.
The Philippines will next face India on Friday, July 15, and New Zealand on Sunday, July 17 in Group D.
The top team in each of the four groups will advance to the quarterfinals, while the second- and third-seed in each group will battle in a playoff to determine who progresses to the final eight.
The Philippines finished in second place in the 2013 and 2015 editions of the tournament, but finished seventh in 2017 which saw Australia and New Zealand participate for the first time.
The 2021 FIBA Asia Cup was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LEBANON 95 -- Arakji 20, Arledge 19, Gyokchan 19, El Darwich 10, Khayat 7, Chamoun 6, Hadidian 6, Ezzedine 5, Mansour 3, Mezher 0, Zeinoun 0.
PHILIPPINES 80 -- Belangel 17, Parks 15, Tamayo 15, T. Ravena 10, Chiu 6, K. Ravena 5, Navarro 4, Erram 4, Abando 4, Quiambao 0, Abarrientos 0.
Quarters: 22-27, 46-39, 79-58, 95-80.