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Gilas' turnovers, late-game execution costly in Iran loss

Scottie Thompson rued his crucial turnover in the dying seconds of Gilas Pilipinas' 78-70 loss to Iran in the 2019 FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Monday.

Gilas was still ahead by one, 70-69, in the final minute when Thompson was deployed back into the game to replace the fouled out Marcio Lassiter.

Behnam Yakhchali hit a tough go-ahead basket over the outstretched arms of Thompson, then moments later, Mohammad Jamshidi broke away with a layup that extended Iran's lead to three.

With 26.7 seconds left on the clock, Thompson made an errant inbound pass intended for Christian Standhardinger. Mohammad Hassanzadeh swiped the ball and Thompson was forced to give up a foul on Yakhchali, who missed his second attempt from the stripe.

The Philippines still had a chance to remedy the situation but Iran grabbed the offensive board and retained possession. Thompson gave up another foul, which paved the way for Yakhchali to ice the game with a pair of free throws.

"I don't know what to say. I committed a turnover in the endgame so I don't know," a dejected Thompson said in Filipino post-match.

Prior to his costly mistake in the final sequences, the 6-foot-1 Thompson served as a spark plug for the team. He showcased his impressive defense, rebounding, and passing, including a highlight dish to June Mar Fajardo late in the third quarter.

"I poured in everything, my hustle in the game. Even on the bench, I prayed to have the strength to be able to help the team," said Thompson, who finished with six rebounds, one assist, and one steal in 11 minutes of action.

It was a good start for the home team against a depleted Iran squad but everything went for naught as Gilas collapsed and suffered its second straight loss in the fifth window.

"We had several lapses in the endgame. It really hurts that it happened in our hometown," said Thompson. "As a team, we really had several lapses. We were in the lead but we wasted it in the end. It also happened against Kazakhstan. Our flow as a team is still lacking."

Gilas veteran Gabe Norwood shared the same sentiments.

"We're just kind of learning on the fly. There's a lot of progression in a good way from three nights ago. Our effort was good, our energy level seem to be better. It just came down to those scenarios," said Norwood.

"At the end of the day, it has to be full team effort. Really locking in and helping each other out. Until we get to that point, it has to be sooner than later. We have two more chances," he added.

Thompson and Arwind Santos, who only played four minutes and contributed two points and a rebound in the loss, both want to redeem themselves and hope they get the chance to play again for the national team.

"For me, I'll charge it to experience as a player, and at the same time, I'm excited to get better for the team and for my personal career," Thompson said.

"I believe I can contribute something whether that's on defense or offense in a crucial situation," said Santos, who hoped he was given the chance to help the team down the stretch.

"I'm always willing to open to play for the national team. We know (FIBA) is a new level of play. I want to avenge our loss. I want to leave the national team with a win. I don't want to exit with a loss."

The Philippines now occupies the fourth spot in Group F with a 5-5 record and will play two away games against Qatar and Kazakhstan in February next year. Both games are must-wins if Gilas intends to qualify for the World Cup in China.

Australia leads the pack with a 9-1 slate, followed by Iran (7-3) and Japan (6-4).