JAKARTA -- The Philippines unleashed an 18-0 run bridging the second and third periods to break a tight game open and cruised to a 113-80 win over Japan in their classification game of the men's basketball competition of the 18th Asian Games here on Tuesday.
Christian Standhardinger led Gilas Pilipinas with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Clarkson had 22 points, six rebounds and nine assists, while Paul Lee chipped in 17 markers.
Japan, playing with just eight men after four of its players were sent home in a prostitution scandal, kept it close during a high-scoring first period thanks to timely hits from the outside, where they shot 5 of 10.
They managed to grab the lead a few times in the second period with a disciplined offense, but a Gabe Norwood jumper sparked an 11-2 run that gave the Philippines some separation at 48-40, 2:25 left in the half. Japan cut the lead to three at 50-47, but Christian Standhardinger and Raymond Almazan teamed up in a 7-0 wind-up to give the Philippines a 10-point spread at halftime.
The Philippines continued the run in the third period, putting up 11 unanswered points to make it an 18-0 run overall, and Japan never recovered. It was 82-64 by the end of the third, the fourth quarter a mere formality.
With Clarkson on the bench to start the fourth period, Japan managed to cut the lead to 15 twice. But timely hits from Lee and Chris Tiu kept the scrappy Japanese at bay.
Consecutive dunks by Clarkson and Almazan, the last one resulting in an and-1, made it 98-78 with just under five minutes left. Five straight points by Standhardinger, who has been superb in these Games so far, gave the Philippines their largest lead at 103-78 with just 3:25 to go, putting the result beyond doubt.
With the win the Philippines is already assured of surpassing their seventh-place finish four years ago in Incheon. They battle the winner of the other classification game between Syria and Indonesia, which was still being played as of posting time, in the fifth place game scheduled on Friday.
It was a good bounce-back win for the Philippines after their quarterfinals setback to Korea on Monday, but coach Yeng Guiao said their job isn't done.
"We're just trying to salvage the best-placed finish that we can and try to play good," he said. "We're trying to finish on a winning note. I think that's a good going-away present Jordan before he goes back to the States for (training) camp. We want to feel good about this whole thing. Of course, we've had some sorry losses."
For the first time since he joined the team in their game against China, Clarkson did not lead the team in scoring. Instead he found his teammates and tallied a team-high nine assists.
"He displayed his passing skills today," Guiao said of Clarkson. "He made his teammates look good. He's a naturally good passer. He just let his teammates play this game. He found them when they were open and that really helped us in the breakaway in the third and fourth quarter."
113 - Standhardinger 27, Clarkson 22, Lee 17, Pringle 9, Belga 7, Almazan 6, Taulava 6, Ahanmisi 5, Norwood 5, Tiu 5, Erram 4.
Quarters: 27-27, 57-47, 82-64, 113-80