08:29 PM July 18, 2014

Gilas Pilipinas’ miseries in its personal duel with Iran still won’t end yet.

The Nationals started on the wrong foot with naturalized center Marcus Douthit drawing two quick fouls, and hardly got into the groove in a 55-76 loss to the Iranians in the semifinals of the fifth FIBA Asia Cup at the Wuhan Sports Centre in Wuhan, China Friday night.

Iran put up a dominant performance and stopped Gilas’ four-game romp to get a shot at a second straight crown in this tourney formerly known as the Stankovic Cup.


Also gearing up for the coming FIBA World Cup like the Filipinos, the Iranians go for a title repeat Saturday either against host China or Chinese Taipei.

In the second year of their program under Slovenian coach Mehmed Becirovic, the Iranians came out in their best form Friday night and thus reasserted their mastery of the Filipinos.

For the record, Iran whipped Gilas, 77-60, in the Asia Cup semis in Japan in 2012 and repeated with an 85-71 victory in the 27th FIBA Asia Cup finals at the MOA Arena in Pasay City last year.

With a younger lineup still built around former NBA player Hamed Hadadi, the Iranians were as authoritative in their latest conquest of the Filipinos.

Hadadi didn’t need to put up the kind of performance he dished out in Manila – 29 points and 16 rebounds – as the 7-foot-1 center drew all the help he could get from Iran’s young upcoming stars led by forward Mohammad Jamshidi.

A former Asian Youth championship star, Jamshidi topscored with 19 points while Hadadi came up with 11 points, five assists, five rebounds, three blocks and one steal against two turnovers in 32 minutes of action.

Hadadi easily reasserted his might against Douthit who was held down to six markers on a woeful 2-of-13 field clip.

And it didn’t help that Douthit picked up two fouls with a little over two minutes into the game.

Douthit sat out the rest of the first half and failed to hit his stride in his return in the second half.

Iran controlled Douthit with its tough interior defense and, on the offensive end, dominated with its good ball movement and torrid shooting.

With double-digit productions from Jamshidi, Hadadi and two other starters, the Iranians sat on a 39-28 cushion at the half and kept a commanding lead all the way to the finish in another masterful showing against the Filipinos.

They converted 27 of 62 field attempts, including seven three pointers by Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi, Jamshidi, Oshian Sahakian and Arman Sangeneh as against Gilas’ 3-of-21 treys.

The Iranians also dominated the boards, 43-34, and battered the Filipinos, 34-24, on inside points.

Their good passing game was evident with their 14-5 advantage on assists. (SB)

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