After winning its first World Cup game in four decades, the Philippines slumped to its worst basketball finish in the Asian Games.
A young China squad survived a fierce rally by Gilas Pilipinas to hammer out a 78-71 victory in the men’s basketball competition of the 17th Asian Games on Monday afternoon at Hwaseong Sports Gymnasium here.
The result will leave the Philippines—which set out to end a more than five-decade, gold-medal drought in the quadrennial Games— battling for seventh place against Mongolia.
The Philippines bucked the absence of key stars Marc Pingris and Jimmy Alapag to put up a semblance of a fight. But in the end, the Nationals sputtered and headed to their lowest finish in the Games, whose first four editions they had ruled.
Before this tournament, the Philippines’ lowest finish was sixth place, in 1966 in Thailand and in 2010 in China.
“The guys put the best effort out there possible,” said swingman Gabe Norwood. “We came up a little short again.”
The Philippines fell behind by 19 but struck hard to come within four points at 66-70 on an LA Tenorio triple. But the Chinese fought back to take a 78-68 lead going into the final minute of the match.
Coach Chot Reyes credited China’s defense in the game but rued a call that aided the run.
“We were able to adapt to their man-to-man,” said Reyes. “They did a good job switching to a zone to stop our comeback. When LA hit that three-pointer to cut the lead to four, the ref called a questionable foul.”
Reyes also went on a rant against officiating, noting that Gilas is now 0-6 in games officiated by Kuwaiti Mohammad Alamiri, including matches the team played in the World Cup.
“When we played Korea, the refs were from Iran and China. When we played China, the referees were from Korea and Iran. When we played Iran, the refs were from China and Korea and [Alamiri]. I find it odd that they are the same referees when there are other referees.”
With the win, China shoots for fifth place at 3:15 p.m. also Wednesday against Qatar.
CHINA 78—Liu 16, Zhao 14, Zhai 13, Li 13, Guo 10, Zhou Q 6, Wang 3, Zhou P 3, Sun 0, Ding 0.
GILAS PILIPINAS 71—Douthit 24, de Ocampo 14, Tenorio 7, Dillinger 7, David 6, Aguilar 4, Chan 3, Lee 2, Fajardo 0.
Quarters: 21-17, 42-34, 65-53, 78-71
Source : Francis T.J. Ochoa | Inquirer.net