Keys to the game: Kiefer and other things we liked in Gilas’ win vs Chinese-Taipei

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Kiefer Ravena set the defensive tone for Gilas in the hosts’ win over Chinese-Taipei on Monday. Courtesy of FIBA.com

After Gilas Pilipinas survived another outing in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, ABS-CBN News looks at several keys to the Philippines’ hard-fought win over Chinese-Taipei on Monday.

Finding the range: After making just 2 of 13 from long distance in the first 3 quarters, Gilas found its shooting touch in the fourth quarter, where they hit 4-of-9 3-pointers.

Chinese-Taipei, meanwhile, went cold, making just 1 of 5 from downtown after shooting 8 of 19 from behind the arc in the first 3 quarters.

June Mar Fajardo: He has promised to be a force in international play, and he delivered on that Monday, scoring 17 points on an efficient 7-of-12 shooting from the field, on top of 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.

He was a matchup problem for the visitors, occasionally giving Quincy Davis a headache down the block when they were paired against each other.

Owning the middle: Gilas used its size advantage against Chinese-Taipei, outrebounding the visitors 46-37 (including 14-7 off the offensive glass) while registering a 10-1 advantage in shot blocks. 

Was it a product of size advantage or heart and hustle? It helps to have Blatche and Fajardo on Gilas’ side, but even the Philippines’ guards were creating havoc in those departments.

Castro has as many rebounds (4) as any of Chinese-Taipei’s big men (except Davis, who had 9), while Castro and Pogoy (one each) has as many shot blocks as the entire opposing squad.

Kiefer Ravena: He’s been in a lot of international battles, but none as big as this one. When given the chance to shine, he didn’t let the opportunity slip.

Ravena led a second-quarter surge that helped Gilas come back from 14 points down and take the lead.

His layup put the hosts ahead 28-27, but his infectious, disruptive presence on defense set the tone for Gilas’ counterattack. He finished with 9 points, 6 of them in the second quarter.

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