Guangzhou, China (AHN) – The Philippines survived a spirited challenge from a tough Kuwaiti side Saturday, winning the knockout match 76-69 to move into the group stage of the men’s basketball event at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.
The Philippines made a successful return on Asian Games men’s basketball arena, as it rallied to beat Kuwait in a do-or-die qualifying match Saturday at Guangzhou Gymnasium.
After skipping the basketball tourney at the 2006 Doha Games due to a FIBA suspension, the Philippines fielded a developmental squad, composed of a handful of amateurs and three players in the county’s professional league, to match up against Asian cage powerhouse China, South Korea, and Iran.
Filipino-American Marcio Lassiter led the Philippines offensive charge with 18 points, while homegrown talents Mac Baracael and JV Casio combined for 23 points to bring down the upset-minded Kuwaitis.
The shorter and leaner Kuwaitis did provide some scary moments for the former Asian champion, but the Filipinos picked up their play down to stretch to book their first win since the quarterfinals of the 2002 Busan Games.
In the next round, the Filipinos will be pitted against Chinese Taipei, Japan, Qatar, reigning Asian champion Iran, and the winner of another qualification game between Afghanistan and India in Group F.
Mongolia and North Korea were also successful in their respective qualifying matches to join China, South Korea, Uzbekistan, and Jordan in Group E.
The top four teams in each group after a single round-robin will advance to the knockout stages of the games.