Undying Puso allows Gilas Pilipinas to salvage 7th place in 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup

Paul Lintag on Aug 20, 2017 08:27 PM
Undying Puso allows Gilas Pilipinas to salvage 7th place
Terrence Romeo was a part of three straight clutch plays for Gilas Pilipinas as the Philippines survived Jordan to take 7th place in the 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup. (FIBA)

Embattled after back-to-back lopsided defeats, Gilas Pilipinas relied on its undying Puso to end the 2017 FIBA-Asia Cup on a high note.

The Philippines managed to salvage 7th place in the Asian championships, beating Jordan in a wild one, 75-70, Sunday at the Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex in Beirut, Lebanon.

Despite controlling the game starting on the latter part of the second quarter, Gilas Pilipinas appeared to be on its way to a third straight stinging defeat after Jordan regained the lead via an Ahmad Alhamarsheh triple with around two minutes to go.

Things looked bleak for the Philippines following a floater from Mousa Alawadi that gave the Jordanians a 70-65 spread. However, that proved to be their last basket in Lebanon.

Put back in the game after Jayson Castro suffered an apparent knee injury, Terrence Romeo made things happen for the Philippines on both ends of the floor in the final minute.

The Bro first drilled an open triple to cut the deficit to one, 69-70, with 58 seconds to go.

Then, following a defensive stand by Gilas, Romeo "found" Japeth Aguilar for the go-ahead layup.

Terrence's pass appeared to be originally intended for June Mar Fajardo but the Kraken failed to secure the leather. Aguilar picked it up and pushed the Philippines to a 71-70 lead with 12.6 seconds remaining.

Needing one final stop, Romeo's gamble on an interception proved to be worth it as Mah'd Abdeen was called for a turnover after a backing violation.

Matthew Wright then gave Gilas a 73-70 lead from the foul line and one last steal and layup by RR Pogoy completed a 10-0 closing run by the Philippines to secure the victory.

Romeo and Wright each scored 13 points apiece to lead Gilas Pilipinsa while Carl Bryan Cruz came off the bench to add nine points.

Japeth Aguilar managed eight points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Philippines. Jayson Castro, whose injury appears to be not that serious, also finished with eight points on top of four rebounds and eight assists.

Alawadi was the high man for Jordan after dropping 21 points in 38 minutes of play.

Despite the finish, the Philippines recorded its worst outing in FIBA Asia play in eight years. The Powerade-backed Team Pilipinas got 8th place in the 2009 version of the tournament in China. This is also the worst finish by the Gilas program since the initiative was started in 2010.

The original Gilas team place fourth in the 2011 FIBA-Asia Championship. Gilas 2.0 and Gilas 3.0 made it all the way to the Finals of both the 2013 and 2015 tournaments only to finish with a silver medal each time.


The Scores:

PHILIPPINES 75 - Romeo 13, Wright 13, Cruz 9, Aguilar 8, Castro William 8, Abueva 6, Norwood 5, Almazan 4, Jalalon 4, Fajardo 3, Pogoy 2.

JORDAN 70 - Alawadi 21, Hussein 13, Alhamarsheh 12, Abdeen 10, Abu Hawwas 8, Bzai 3, Zaghab 3, Abu Wazaneh 0, Eid 0.

Quarters: 17-17, 35-27, 58-53, 75-70.


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