Iran rallied to stun Gilas Pilipinas 78-70 in Monday's FIBA Asian World Cup qualifier at the Mall of Asia.
Japan overtook the Philippines in the Group F standings following its 86-70 win over Kazakhstan earlier in the day. Japan improved to 6-4 for third place while the Philippines falls to 5-5 and fourth place in Group F.
Gilas took a 70-69 lead on a June Mar Fajardo basket entering the final minute. But Iran scored the last nine points behind Mohammad Jamshidi and Behnam Yakhchalidehkordi.
Iran entered the game on a two-game losing skid, played minus veteran stars Hamed Haddadi and Nikhah Bahrami. Iran eventually lost big men Meisam Mrzaeitalarposhti and Rouzbeh Arghavan to fouls in the final period. But they simply showed tremendous focus to end their skid and regain the second spot in Group F at 7-3.
Gilas turned the ball over 16 times in the game, including nine in the last half. The last two errors following Troy Rosario's missed 3-point attempt proved to be the downfall for the Philippines. Gilas led by as much as 60-52 early in the final period.
Castro led Gilas with 19 points, five rebounds, and two assists. Naturalized big man Christian Standhardinger had 17 and 12 boards, while Marcio Lassiter, who had three 3-pointers in the opening quarter, finished with 12.
Jamshidi and Yakhchalidehkordi scored 26 and 21 points, respectively, for Iran.
-- Gilas last two assignments of the Asian Qualifiers are away games in February against Qatar and Kazakhstan.