MANILA, Philippines – Mac Belo exploded with 30 points and 11 rebounds as Gilas Pilipinas snared its first victory in the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge by ripping Kazakhstan, 98-86, in Tehran, Iran on Tuesday, September 13.
Belo, who shot 11-of-18 from the field with 3 triples, 3 assists, and two steals, preyed on every crack in Kazakhstan's defense to lead the Philippines to a breakthrough after 3 straight losses so far.
Ed Daquioag was also productive with 17 points, 4 assists, and 3 steals while Russel Escoto added 12 points and 5 rebounds.
The Filipinos nearly succumbed once again to their fourth quarter waterloo after they blew a 16-point lead in the third and allowed Kazakhstan to pull to within 5 points early in the fourth.
But Gilas recovered as Belo sizzled some more in the payoff period, countering Kazakhstan with soaring layups for 3-point plays and smooth jumpers to reestablish the double-digit margin that went as high as 17.
Kevin Ferrer and CJ Perez added 8 and 7 points, respectively, as Gilas moved the ball well to tally 15 assists as a team.
The Filipinos also cashed in on outside shots with 9 triples, exploiting Kazakhstan's cold shooting afternoon when they missed 18 3-point attempts before finally punching in one at the final buzzer.
The Philippines next faces Jordan in second round Group E action on Wednesday, September 14. – Rappler.com