Gilas Pilipinas hit great strides on both ends and pulled off an emphatic 84-46 win over Qatar to stay alive in the fight for a berth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Andray Blatche made a big return as a Gilas player and made the big difference as the Nationals repeated their 92-81 conquest of the Qataris in Manila in September.
A predominantly Filipino cheering crowd filled the Al-Gharafa Sports Club Multi-Purpose Hall and stood as witness as the Nationals pulled the crucial victory that jacked up their record to 6-5 (win-loss) in Group F.
Gilas stayed at fourth place in the group, though, as Japan also repeated over Iran, 97-89, in Tehran earlier in the day. The Japanese caught up with the Iranians at second place at 7-4.
Team Philippines must beat Kazakhstan in Astana on Sunday to have a shot at a World Cup berth as the “best fourth placer” from the Asian qualifiers.