Gilas Pilipinas and Iran scored contrasting wins but wound up topping their rspective groups just the same at the end of the second round of eliminations in the 27th FIBA Asia Championship Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.


Displaying little of the shooting touch and fluid motion that gave them victories over Japan and Qatar the past two days, the Filipinos struggled before posting a 67-55 win over Hong Kong.

The win enabled Gilas Pilipinas to clinch the top spot in Group E going into the quarterfinals but the hosts had to get some help from Qatar.


The Qataris’ thrilling 71-68 victory over Chinese-Taipei created a three-way tie for first at 4-1, but Gilas Pilipinas claimed the No.1 spot with the best quotient. Chinese-Taipei settled for second and Qatar finished third.

Jordan stepped on the gas in the second half to subdue Japan, 65-56, winning its second knockout game of the tournament and earning a spot in the quarterfinals.

Iran, for its part, creamed Kazakhstan, 85-53, to finish with an unblemished 5-0 slate in Group F.

Korea and China also scored easy victories to cement their spots in the next phase. Korea plastered India,  95-54, to finish at 4-1 and claim second. China, with Yi Jianlian returning to action, dumped Bahrain, 61-43, for a 3-2 record that was good for third.

Kazakhstan, at 2-3, ended up fourth.

Knockout quarterfinal matches will be played Friday with the following pairings: Gilas Pilipinas vs. Kazakhstan, Chinese-Taipei vs. China, Qatar vs. Korea, Jordan vs. Iran. (JL)

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