GILAS Pilipinas plans to put its won game against Qatar under protest following a confusion over a basket that marred the final minute of the game on Tuesday as the battle for the top ranking in Group E turned into a numbers game.
A technical official said Jimmy Alapag signed the score sheet after the Philippines’ 80-70 victory over Qatar, giving it the option to put the game under protest over a basket which the referees awarded to Mansour Atif Elhadary in the endgame.
To make the protest official, however, the official said the Philippines must pay a bond of P70,500 to Fiba-Asia.
The Gilas coaching staff had questioned the decision of the referees to award the basket to Elhadary, which the host team claimed came after one of the officials had inadvertently blown a whistle, meaning it was made during a deadball situation.
Following a long discussion, referees decided to give Elhadary the two points to the dismay of Gilas, cutting Qatar's deficit to seven points, 67-74.
Those two points may become crucial if Gilas, Qatar, and Chinese-Taipei end up in a three-way tie for first place in Group E at the end of the two-phase preliminaries, which could happen if the Qataris beat Taipei and Gilas defeats hapless Hong Kong on Wednesday.
As things stand now, Gilas stands at plus-5 following the 80-70 win over Qatar and the 79-84 loss to Taipei on Saturday. Qatar is minus-10 and Taipei plus-5 heading to their showdown.
According to officials, Qatar must beat Taipei by at least 16 points to take the top ranking. A margin smaller than that would have Gilas getting the No. 1 seeding - and a showdown against the No. 4 seed from Group F, Kazakhstan, in the crossover quarterfinals.
The numbers could change drastically in Gilas' favor if a protest on the Elhadary basket prospers.
The situation is much simpler for Taipei, which will automatically fall to No. 2 or No. 3 with a loss.
Coach Chot Reyes, however, appeared to have already accepted the fate of the nationals ending up as the No. 2 team in its group behind Taipei - and a showdown with mighty China in the Final Eight.