Gilas Pilipinas defeated Senegal, 75-63, turning the tables in a stunning redemption game at the Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament in China Sunday evening, August 6.
The showdown marked a dramatic reversal of fortune for the Filipino squad after their previous defeat to the same opponents, highlighting their unwavering commitment to success.
The match witnessed a breathtaking fourth-quarter surge led by the remarkable Bobby Ray Parks, who transformed from a scoreless presence in the first three quarters to a late-game powerhouse.
Standing at 6-foot-3, Parks delivered an electrifying performance, driving an 18-3 offensive blitz that sent shockwaves through the Senegalese defense. This impressive rally saw Gilas Pilipinas overturning a six-point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter into a commanding 65-56 lead with just 4 minutes and 37 seconds left.
Parks’ contribution was exceptional, as he masterfully orchestrated the offensive charge, scoring eight vital points within the first five minutes of the final quarter. His highlight reel included a clutch layup that tied the score at 53-all with 7 minutes and 27 seconds remaining, igniting the Filipino crowd and setting the stage for an unforgettable comeback.
However, Parks was not the sole hero of the game. AJ Edu and Kiefer Ravena played instrumental roles in sealing the victory for Gilas Pilipinas. With Senegal refusing to relent, Edu and Ravena unleashed back-to-back three-pointers, extending their team’s lead to a comfortable 10 points and effectively extinguishing any hopes of a Senegalese resurgence. This dynamic trio’s synergy and unwavering resolve epitomized the team’s spirit and propelled them to a triumphant comeback.
A remarkable feature of this game was the resilient performance of Gilas Pilipinas, who were missing key players, including Jordan Clarkson, Kai Sotto, and Scottie Thompson. Despite these challenges, the team demonstrated exceptional cohesion and adaptability, showcasing the depth of their talent pool.
Contributions were aplenty, as four players scored double figures for the Philippines. AJ Edu led the charge with an impressive 15-point display, showcasing his versatility with three well-timed triples. CJ Perez showcased his skills early on, amassing 14 crucial points, while Dwight Ramos and June Mar Fajardo added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
With this resounding victory, Gilas Pilipinas aims to conclude the Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament with a commendable 3-1 record as they prepare to face Iran in the pocket tournament finale on the following Monday, August 7. The win not only avenges their previous defeat but also serves as a testament to their unyielding determination and indomitable spirit as they continue their journey toward success on the international basketball stage.
As the team returns to the Philippines after this exhilarating tournament, they are set to resume their preparations for the upcoming FIBA World Cup, carrying the momentum and confidence gained from this remarkable display of skill and tenacity.