The Philippines returned to the Asian Games men's basketball Final Four, thanks to Justin Brownlee's red-hot offensive.
The Philippine naturalized player fired a game-high 36 points, including the go-ahead basket down the stretch to lift Gilas Pilipinas past a fighting Iran side, 84-83 to seal its place in the semifinals in the 19th Asian Games men's basketball on Tuesday, Oct. 3 at the Zhejiang University Zijingang Gymnasium.
Brownlee, who played just over eight minutes in Gilas' 80-41 demolition of Qatar a day before, appeared fresh and fired up from the get-go against the three-time Asian basketball champion.
The Iranians made a gutsy comeback after being down by 19 points entering the final period. They outscored the Filipinos, 29-11. Only Brownlee's timely basket late in the game rescued Gilas from the jaws of defeat.
The 35-year-old Brownlee in fact, played with a great sense of urgency after scoring 16 points in the opening quarter to give Gilas a 28-22 lead.
The Philippines stretched the lead to a high of 21 points in the third quarter, before Iran made its move in the last period behind a flurry of three-pointers.
The win though allowed the Philippines to return to the semifinals since it last did the trick in the 2002 Busan Games when Jong Uichico was still at the helm.
Uichico now serves as one of interim coach Tim Cone's assistants.
Gilas faces China in the knockout semifinals.
The Chinese reached the Final Four after routing the Koreans, 84-70 in their own quarterfinal tussle.
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