TERRENCE Romeo once again provided the spark as Gilas Pilipinas put a rugged Iraq in its place, 84-68, to stake a claim on the Pool B top seeding in the 2017 Fiba Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon.
Held to three points on 1-of-7 shooting in a first half, the dazzling guard out of Far Eastern University exploded for 11 points in the third quarter to turn a 32-31 game at halftime into a full-blown rout.
His two free throws capped a dizzying 24-4 run by the Filipinos that broke the game wide-open, 56-35, and took the fight out of an Iraq side that rode on naturalized player Kevin Galloway’s all-around game to keep Gilas at bay through two quarters.
The win, a fitting follow-up to a shock 96-87 win over defending champion China on Wednesday, enabled Gilas to all but clinch the top seeding in Pool B – and an all-important bye in the next round.
With a perfect 2-0 record, Gilas is expected to beat both China and Iraq in the tiebreak even it loses its final qualification match against also-ran Qatar (0-2) on Sunday.
Qatar tumbled out of contention for the two berths in Pool B after a 67-92 loss to China on Friday.
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