BEIJING, China -- Gilas Pilipinas badly wanted to return home with a win, but their campaign in the 2019 FIBA World Cup ended in a 95-75 loss to Iran at the Cadillac Arena on Sunday.
Gilas hung with Iran in the first period, even taking a 19-17 lead early on, behind their hot shooting from beyond the arc (6/11 3FG). But Iran exploited the Philippines' size disadvantage, dominating in several categories -- rebounding (24-14), points in the paint (20-10) and second-chance points (8-1) -- the rest of the first half to build a 14-point lead, 48-34.
A 16-7 spurt by Iran to open the third quarter made it 64-41, putting the game out of reach for Gilas.
"We ran into an Iran team that's been playing great all tournament, a team that lost to Spain by single digits, had Puerto Rico basically beat. That's a tried and tested team over there," said team captain Gabe Norwood, who finished with six points.
"We've competed [against Iran] how many times in my 12 years representing the country. They play hard and together. Kudos to them, we just didn't have it tonight."
Similar to the Tunisia loss, the Philippines played much better in the fourth period, which Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao thought showed the kind of character the team had.
"We knew [Iran was] playing hard in the endgame. They were trying to build a lead or make the quotient, I'm not sure. They were just trying so hard so I felt that we should just match their energy, and the guys felt that too," said Guiao. "If we were going to play our last game might as well put out our best effort. So for a 20-point lead in the end, it looked like [the game] was being decided in the fourth quarter."
Robert Bolick led Gilas Pilipinas with 15 points. Andray Blatche, who was ejected from the game after incurring two technical fouls, had 12 points.
Following China's loss to Nigeria, the victory meant Iran clinched Asia's lone Olympic berth by virtue of a higher quotient.
Iran (95) - Haddadi 19, Bahrami 17, Jamshidi 16, Yakhchali 14, Geramipoor 12, Mashayekhi 6, Hassanzadeh 4, Mozafarivanani 4, Rostampour 3.
Gilas Pilipinas (75) - Bolick 15, Blatche 12, Fajardo 10, Perez 9, Pogoy 7, Norwood 6, Aguilar 5, Lee 3, Ravena 3, Barroca 2, Rosario 2, Almazan 1.
Quarterscores: 30-24, 48-34, 75-50, 95-75
-- Gabe Norwood's 3-pointer at the 6:19 mark of the first quarter was his first basket of the tournament.
-- Chinese fans were cheering for Gilas, given the implications the game had on China's bid for the automatic Olympic spot.
-- Andray Blatche was ejected with 5:23 left after being whistled for two technical fouls.