SEVILLE, SPAIN - Gilas Pilipinas trailed Argentina, 38-43, at the end of the first half of a thrilling Fiba World Cup game highlighted by some highlight-reel moments for the Philippines on Monday night.
The hot-starting Filipinos took an early 12-2 lead after back-to-back three-pointers by Jayson Castro then controlled most of the first half against an Argentina team ranked No. 3 in the world just behind Team USA and host Spain.
That start appeared to rattle the Argentinians and for a while silenced their loud travelling fans as Gilas produced some breathtaking moments - the biggest of all a one-handed dunk by Gabe Norwood over Indiana Pacer Luis Scola on a fastbreak with 5:16 to go for a 17-7 lead.
Gilas took a couple more 10-point leads in the first half even without Andray Blatche, who picked up his second foul less than two minutes in and never returned to the match until there was only 2:30 left in the half.
Argentina, however, soon hit its stride, going on a 12-0 run behind three-pointers by Pablo Prigioni and Marcos Mata to grab the upperhand for the first time, 40-36, with 57 seconds to go.
But one more problem presented itself for Argentina late in the half as Scola picked up his third foul with 44 seconds left.
Gilas, which shot close to 60 percent from the field in the first quarter, cooled down a bit and finished the half shooting just 48 percent on a 16-of-33 clip while Argentina went 14-of-35 for 40 percent.
Surprisingly, Gilas won the rebound battle against Scola and Co., 21-19.