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Gilas Pilipinas scores historic upset vs Latvia


Gilas Pilipinas roster pose for a group picture. Photo by GMA network

GILAS Pilipinas defeated sixth-ranked Latvia, 89-80, in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Arena Riga on Thursday, July 4. This marks their first win against a European Team in an official FIBA competition since 1960.

The No. 37-ranked Filipinos started with an 8-0 run in the first quarter and maintained their lead up to the final buzzer. Gilas ended the first quarter 32-16 with an 11-0 run following a buzzer-beater by CJ Perez. Latvia tried to make a comeback late in the 4th quarter but it wasn’t enough.

Justin Brownlee led Gilas with 26 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists in 37 minutes. Kai Sotto played one of his best games in the international stage contributing 18 points on 7-10 shooting and adding 8 rebounds.

“Our country is so passionate about basketball. Pretty much everybody knows that by now,” Gilas head coach Tim Cone said after the win. “For us to be successful on the world stage really means a lot.”

Despite the shocking defeat, Latvia still qualifies for the semifinals thanks to their 83-55 victory over Georgia. Gilas needs to win their game against Georgia or lose by 18 points or less to proceed to the semifinals. Georgia on the other hand will need to beat Gilas by 19 points or more to qualify.

“We’re not here just to win one game,” Cone said. “We really want to try to get to the finals and see what happens if we get to the finals. That’s really the goal.”

Gilas Pilipinas will compete against Georgia tonight at 8:30 p.m.


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