Gilas back on track, takes down Iraq for 4th Jones Cup win

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Jones Cup photo

The Philippine national men’s basketball team came out on top against a highly physical Iraq squad, 84-75, to notch its fourth win in the 2017 William Jones Cup Thursday at Taipei Peace International Basketball Hall.

Mike Myers had another impressive double-double of 16 points and 18 boards, while Kiefer Ravena made 13 points and six assists as Gilas Pilipinas improved to 4-2 in the tournament.

After an atrocious performance from downtown in its loss to Korea last Wednesday, Gilas Pilipinas found its stroke in this one, making seven out of its 21 attempts.

But the team struggled to start the game as it allowed Iraq to dictate the game with its rugged style of play. The Iraqis led 19-15 after the opening period.

After that, Gilas Pilipinas flexed its muscles, launching a 12-2 run ignited by eight points from Matthew Wright.

Gilas Pilipinas handcuffed Iraq in the second quarter, limiting its opponents to just three points to take a 36-22 lead at the break.

But the Iraqis wouldn’t go away as it engaged Gilas Pilipinas in some physchological battles that kept them within striking distance. Mohammed Al-Khafaji even committed cringeworthy flops in the hopes of sparking his team.

Turnovers then plagued Gilas Pilipinas in the fourth frame, opening the door for Iraq which closed the gap to eight, 76-68, with over two minutes left.

But Gilas Pilipinas regained its composure in the end-game to come away with the win.

RR Pogoy added 12 points as Jio Jalalon and Carl Bryan Cruz each chipped in 10 markers.

Gilas Pilipinas will clash with Lithuania on Friday for its next assignment.