Gilas Pilipinas could not pull off the comeback as Lebanon held on for a 74-68 win in a tuneup game at the Epsilon Chi Center in the University of the Philippines in Quezon City on Friday.
It was a back-and-forth game in the final minutes, but Ater Majok's two-handed throwdown after June Mar Fajardo lost the ball on a rebound play sealed the win for the visiting team with 39 seconds remaining.
The Filipinos couldn't mount a comeback after that and lost the first of two scrimmages between the two teams before the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Majok atoned for botching two missed free throws with 2:08 remaining and Lebanon leading 70-66.
Jayson Castro did the same a few possessions later before Japeth Aguilar committed a goal tending foul on Amir Saoud.
Fajardo, who is still on his way to full strength, scored on a baseline jumper after that to pull Gilas to within four, 72-68 with 79 seconds remaining.
Majok missed with a layup and the ball slipped through Fajardo's hands before the 6-foot-10 Lebanese was there to clean up the possession for the win.
It was Ali Haidar, though, who led the scoring for Lebanon with 20 points. Majok chimed in 13 and Saoud scored 10 points.
Aguilar paced the Filipinos with 16 points while Marcio Lassiter fired 11. Fajardo and Arwind Santos combined for 15 points for Gilas, which clawed back from 18 points down in the third period.
Gilas got as close as 60-59 after Santos' breakaway layup early in the final quarter but Lebanon was quick to regain a large lead.
LEBANON 74 -- Haidar 20, Majok 13, Saoud 10, Abdel Nour 9, Bawji 6, Mehzer 5, Rustom 4, Akl 3, Ibrahim 2, Tabet 0, Khalil 0, Fares 0.
PHILIPPINES 68 -- Aguilar 16, Lassiter 11, Fajardo 9, Santos 6, Rosario 5, Pringle 4, Slaughter 4, Tenorio 4, Wright 3, Lee 3, Rivero 2, Thompson 1, Castro 0, Erram 0.
Quarterscores: 20-16, 44-28, 57-55, 74-68.
-- Guiao was a member of the fraternity Epsilon Chi, which funded the brand new UP Gym.
-- There was a brief confrontation between Marcio Lasiter and the Lebanon head coach in the third period in the heat of Gilas' rally.
The two meet again on Sunday, 8 p.m. at the Meralco Gym