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Gilas end Paris Olympics dream after falling to Brazil


Photo from FIBA

GILAS Pilipinas ended their Olympic dreams in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament after losing in the semifinals to no. 12 ranked Brazil, 71-60, at the Arena Riga in Latvia. 

With leads of up to 12 points early in the first half, the Philippines got off to a good start and ended the first half with a sizeable lead of 27-33. By the start of the third quarter, Brazil regrouped and managed to fight back and go on a 14-0 run. They ended the quarter 51-39 allowing the Philippines to only score six points in that quarter. 

Brazil never allowed Gilas to make a comeback in the 4th and claimed their spot in the Group Finals. 

Former NBA players Bruno Caboclo and Marcelo Huertas led the charge for Brazil and capitalized on the absence of Gilas’s injured Bigman Kai Sotto.

“We don’t want to make excuses, but losing Kai was big for us because it just took away our depth in the frontline and forced June Mar to have to overplay minutes. It’s kinda all mushroomed it right there,” Gilas coach Tim Cone said.

Caboclo led the team in both scoring and rebounds with 15 points and 11 rebounds with 3 blocks. Huertas added 13 points with 9 of those points coming in the 4th quarter. Meanwhile, Justin Brownlee, Gilas’ scoring machine throughout the tournament, only managed to score 15 points due to Brazil’s strong defense.

Brazil now faces Latvia in the Finals for a spot in the Paris Olympics.

Cone now plans to move forward and get better after this historic run. 

“It’s hard to talk about this after you lose but it’s a growth experience for us. Like I said, I mean we didn’t expect to be here but once we’re here, we expected to win so it’s an incredible disappointment for us. We’re not gonna jump up and down and say ‘Yay! We did our thing and everybody was proud of us.’ Hopefully, that doesn’t get into our mindset. We need to keep pushing moving forward, getting better.”


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