The struggle continues for Gilas Pilipinas as it suffered a 85-81 loss to Lebanon in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers at the Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex early Friday.
Lebanese star Wael Arakji hit the biggest shot down the stretch to spoil the Filipinos’ redemption bid and prove that the Cedars are still the hottest team in Asia.
The FIBA Asia Cup Most Valuable Player nailed a wide-open corner triple that gave the hosts a pivotal 83-78 lead, with 18 seconds left much to the delight of the majority of 8,000 fans that filled the Beirut stadium.
Arakji delivered 24 points and three boards as Lebanon claimed their sixth win in seven outings.
Jordan Clarkson’s effort wasn’t enough as he finished with 27 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Dwight Ramos had 18 points and 10 boards.
The Filipinos, now 2-3, will try to bounce back against Saudi Arabia on Sunday.