Gilas Pilipinas' Greatest hits gets an explosive update
The 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup version of Gilas Pilipinas adds another signature moment to our country's continued chase to regain Asian basketball supremacy. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
There was a time when the Philippines could barely get out of group play in the FIBA-Asia Championships (see 2007 edition in Japan).
When the country did manage to get out of group play and enter the quarterfinals, we actually wound up as the worst team from Asia's supposed Elite Eight (see 2009 edition in Tianjin).
Things started to turn around when the Gilas Pilipinas program was implemented back in 2010. Since then, Philippine basketball has experience a renaissance in international basketball.
And while the ultimate dream, that is making the Olympics, is yet to be realized, the Philippine men's basketball team has slowly put together an inspiring list of moments over the last couple of years.
Terrence Romeo delivering a dagger straight to the heart of China to open the 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup is the latest of Gilas Pilipinas' greatest hits.
Let's relive and marvel at the others below.
Enjoy and #LabanPilipinas #Puso
This is the first of three Gilas breakthroughs we'll talk about and feature here.
As the Philippines' long-time nemesis in international basketball, there was absolute bad blood between Gilas Pilipinas and South Korea when both countries met in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships in Manila.
With an automatic World Cup slot on the line and an opportunity to challenge Iran for the Asian championship, Gilas and Korea engaged in a dramatic game that wasn't decided until the final minute.
As the ghosts of past Korean meltdowns seemed to haunt the Philippines in the fourth quarter back in August 10, 2013, Gilas captain Jimmy Alapag took it upon himself to carry the country to perhaps its best win of the new millenium, hitting two clutch three-pointers to seal an 86-79 victory.
If for some reason you managed to forget all about this monumental moment, do yourself a favor and watch this awesomeness that is Gilas breaking the dreaded Korean curse.
ANGAS NG PILIPINAS
It wasn't the most high profile encounter but when Gilas Pilipinas beat China on its homecourt during the bronze medal game of the 2014 FIBA Asia Cup, it was a big deal.
Not only did we steal a medal from the mighty Chinese on their own soil, the finish provided by Paul Lee was the most Gilas thing ever.
Angas ng Pilipinas is in the house.
HELLO WORLD, THIS IS HOW WE PLAY BASKETBALL IN THE PHILIPPINES
It took the Philippines 36 long years to once again win a game on the world stage.
And after multiple heartbreaks in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas beating Senegal in overtime was a special time for the entire country.
It basically proved that #PUSO works.
June Mar Fajardo showed his tremendous international potential, Andray Blatche did Andray Blatche things, and Jimmy Alapag was the hero... again.
CHANGING OF THE GUARD
This is the second breakthrough for Gilas Pilipinas in its quest to regain Asian basketball supremacy.
Since Iran established themselves as a regional powerhouse in 2007, the Philippines has been a victim of their bullying presence on the basketball floor.
Things got heated between the Asian rivals when Iran won the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championship at the expense of Gilas Pilipinas in Manila.
However, two years later, Gilas would get revenge (familiar script?), beating the Iranians convincingly in the quarterfinals of the 2015 FIBA-Asia Championships behind the heroic effort of Jayson Castro, who finisghed with 26 points.
Gilas failed to win gold in China, but that Iran win felt like a championship.
Blur. Blatche. Beast. Bro. Baldwin. Puso.
THE BRASH PRINCE CAME AT THE KING AND HE DIDN'T MISS
After an incredible twist of fate, Gilas Pilipinas and China picked up where they left off in FIBA play.
Since meeting each other in the Finals of the 2015 FIBA-Asia Championships in China, a game the Chinese won to get Asia's lone automatic spot in the 2016 Olympics, things have been heated between the two countries.
To start the 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup in Lebanon, both teams faced each other again, this time to start preliminary play in Group B.
Gilas Pilipinas waited two years to have another shot at China, and with its most potent offensive weapon Terrence Romeo leading the charge, the Philippines came at the undisputed Kings of Asian basketball.
And oh boy, we did not miss.
In the third and most latest breakthrough by Gilas Pilipinas, Terrence Romeo was a man possessed against China, dropping a FIBA career-high 26 points against the defending Asian champions, 14 coming in the fourth quarter.
The Philippines ended the game on a 12-0 run and the Bro was responsible for the first eight points of that crucial rally.
Gilas Pilipinas' heir apparent at the first guard spot came through against Asia's baddest team and who knows, maybe this is the year we finally take over as the region's best.
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