Team Pilipinas got their bearings just in time against Qatar, winning 92-81 in the fourth window of the Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Araneta.
The PH team played behind closed doors on Monday night as part of the sanctions for their involvement in the basket-brawl with Australia last July. Although the deafening silence (only 220 people were present in the venue) didn't prevent the nationals from securing the all-important victory that would affect the standings in Group F.
Team Pilipinas actually had a slow start, typified by their lone conversion out of 15 attempts from three-point territory in the first half. In contrast, Qatar made seven of 13 from deep to go up 52-39 by halftime. The Pinoys would soon feel it in the third quarter, taking the lead, 59-58, with a little over three minutes left, off a Japeth Aguilar jumper.
Aguilar relished his return from a one-game suspension (7-9 fg 9 reb 1 blk) and Alex Cabagnot bounced back from a poor performance vs Iran (8-8 ft 3 ast 2 stl), leading the locals with 16 points each. Stanley Pringle paid back coach Yeng Guiao's trust (13 pts 6 reb 3 ast), while Beau Belga (11 pts 2 blk) and Scottie Thompson (6 reb 4 off) kept the team within striking distance.
Mohd Yousuf Mohmmed spearheaded Qatar with 26 markers, while Nasser Khalifa Al-Rayes and Tanguy Alban H Ngombo both had 17.
Below are some of the reactions from Pinoy fans: