Lessons learned for Gilas after uneventful Olympic bid - TrueID

Lessons learned for Gilas after uneventful Olympic bid

TrueID ClickJuly 5, 2021


Photo credit: FIBA Olympic Qualifiers official website

By Kriel Ibarrola

Even the young legs of our Gilas Pilipinas team run out of steam sometimes. Following their near upset of the Serbian national team in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament last July 1, Gilas had to run it back 24 hours later against a dangerous (and well-rested) Dominican Republic team.

The stakes were indeed at its highest, as the Filipinos needed a win to keep its Olympic hopes alive. Plus, Gilas fans were still all riled up following the team’s gallant stand against the no. 5 ranked team in the world. 

At the beginning, it looked like Gilas still carried over that momentum from standing toe-to-toe with Serbia. 

That’s what youth does for you. Our boys controlled the tempo early and actually held a slim lead at halftime. 

The game was again played in the wee hours in the Philippines, but Kai Sotto made Pinoys giggle with excitement with some jaw-dropping highlights early one. Nakita mo ba yung mga dakdak ni Kai? Those were grown men highlights!

READ: A tale of two FIBA Olympic qualifying tournaments

nullPhoto credit: FIBA Olympic Qualifiers official website

Plus, Jordan Heading continued his hot streak and drained multiple connections from downtown. That put us in a great position to take the W.

Or so we thought. The second half was a completely different story, particularly the closing minutes of the third quarter. That was when the team’s inexperience showed, as Gilas allowed the Dominicans to go on a 18-4 run to close the third. Yikes. 

The Philippines then fell apart. Dominican Republic continued their hot shooting in the fourth, holding Gilas scoreless for the final three minutes of regulation. The result: A 94-67 defeat. 

Di bale na. Our boys fought hard! Heading led the way with 16 markers on 4-of-6 shooting from deep, while Angelo Kouame added 10 points and six boards. 

Sayang. We still have ways to go, man, but we’re getting there! We definitely have the talent. Experience na lang talaga ang kulang. 

But the good news is, this young team has years of togetherness ahead of them. As long as we keep this tight knit group together, the future is bright. 

This young Gilas squad already surpassed a lot of expectations. Plus, marami pang chances para bumawi!

Keep your heads up, guys. You made us all proud!

To fans out there, what can you say about Gilas Pilipinas’ performance in the Olympic Qualifiers?

READ: FIBA lauds SBP for successful Asia Cup qualifiers hosting

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