Christian Standhardinger of the Philippines (left) attempts a shot against the defense of Meisam Mirzaeitalarposhti of Iran. FIBA

MANILA – The Philippines failed to find its shooting touch the entire game and suffered a 73-81 defeat to Iran in the second round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup Qualifier on Thursday at the Azady Gym in Tehran, Iran.

Despite the defeat, the Filipinos (4-3 win-loss) remained on third place in Group F while the Iranians (6-1) grabbed the solo lead.

Iran made a strong start for a 7-2 edge but the Philippines responded with inside baskets from Christian Standhardinger for a 19-all count. A 3-point play by the Filipino-German center allowed the Philippines to surge 22-21 at the end of the period.

It was a seesaw battle in the second quarter. The Philippines hung on to 30-29 but Iran responded with a run to take a 36-30 edge. Standhardinger converted once again inside to make it a 38-all score at the half.

A strong start in the third period made the Philippines surge 49-46 but Iran countered for a 58-54 lead. The Filipinos then tied the count 58-all on back-to-back hits by Beau Belga before surrendering 5 straight points to Iran.

Iran went to the long ball in the fourth quarter as it pulled to a 75-66 advantage before widening this to its largest 81-69. The Philippines attempted a late run but could only come to as close as 8 points.

Standhardinger was the lone bright spot for the Philippines with 30 points and 12 rebounds. Gunners Alex Cabagnot and Marcio Lassiter had sour shooting for a combined 2-of-14 3-point shooting.

Mohammadsamad Nik Bharami finished with 21 points while Sajjah Mashayekhi added 19 markers for Iran./PN

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