Castro, Blatche power Gilas past Lebanon for Fiba Asia semis berth

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@RLeongsonINQ

11:49 PM October 1st, 2015

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By: Randolph B. Leongson, October 1st, 2015 11:49 PM
Photo from Fiba.com

Photo from Fiba.com

Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche showed the way as Gilas Pilipinas advanced to the semifinals of the 2015 Fiba Asia Championship after outlasting a pesky Lebanon squad, 82-70, on Thursday in Changsha, China.

Castro carried the Filipinos from the get-go, finishing with 25 points on a 5-of-10 three-point shooting, while Blatche got 24 markers and 17 rebounds.

Gilas will face Japan, the same team it beat in the group stages, in the semifinals Friday at 9:30pm.

In their first meeting last Sunday, the Filipinos had to squeeze past the hard-fighting Japanese ahead of their clash against powerhouse Iran.

Gilas is assured of at least a spot in the final qualifier for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but it has the chance to grab the outright berth with two more wins.

The Filipinos struggled to break way from Lebanon, which teetered in the brink of elimination in the group stages, but Blatche took over in the fourth quarter to slam the door for good.

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