Gilas Pilipinas faced a tough setback in their second game of the Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament in China, succumbing to Senegal with a final score of 72-64 on Friday, August 4. The loss came after a promising start in the tournament, with Gilas securing a convincing 76-65 win over Iran in their opening match.
In a closely contested battle, the Philippines faltered in the fourth quarter, unable to maintain their momentum against Senegal’s determined efforts. Despite a valiant attempt to surge ahead, Gilas Pilipinas struggled to sustain their charge, allowing Senegal to mount a critical 15-4 run that ultimately shifted the outcome in their favor.
Young big man AJ Edu’s back-to-back baskets early in the fourth quarter briefly propelled the Filipinos to a slim 57-55 lead with eight minutes remaining. However, Senegal responded with a decisive surge, capitalizing on their strengths to regain game control. Brancou Badio, a skilled guard with NBA Summer League experience, played a pivotal role in engineering Senegal’s comeback, capping their momentum-shifting run with a pull-up three-pointer that sealed the victory.
Gilas Pilipinas showed resilience and determination throughout the game despite the challenging loss. June Mar Fajardo emerged as the top scorer for the Philippines, contributing 14 points to the team’s efforts. His leadership on and off the court was evident, inspiring his teammates to give their all despite the uphill battle. Meanwhile, CJ Perez and Dwight Ramos added 11 points, showcasing their versatility and commitment to the team’s cause.
The fourth quarter was a struggle for Gilas Pilipinas on the offensive end, as they scored just 9 points in the period. Senegal capitalized on this opportunity, solidifying their advantage and securing their second consecutive victory in the tournament. With their 2-0 record, Senegal emerged as the only unbeaten team in the three-team tiff, showcasing their determination and readiness for the challenges ahead.
Despite the setback, Gilas Pilipinas remains determined to regroup and bounce back. The team has the opportunity for redemption as they gear up for a rematch against Senegal on Sunday, August 6. This second encounter will allow Filipinos to learn from their previous match and make the necessary adjustments to level the playing field. Coach Chot Reyes and the entire team are undoubtedly analyzing the game tape, identifying areas for improvement, and fine-tuning their strategies to counter Senegal’s strengths.
The Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament is crucial to Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation for the upcoming FIBA World Cup later this month. As they face tough competition, the team remains committed to refining their strategies, honing their skills, and showcasing the Filipino fighting spirit internationally. Gilas Pilipinas gains valuable experience with each game and learns valuable lessons that will contribute to their growth as a cohesive unit.
The final scores of the quarters were 22-19, 35-34, 56-53, and 72-64, reflecting the closely contested nature of the game and the determination displayed by both teams throughout the match. As Gilas Pilipinas progresses through the tournament, they are keenly aware that challenges are opportunities in disguise. The team’s resolve and dedication exemplify the true spirit of sportsmanship and competition even in the face of adversity. With their eyes set on the FIBA World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas remains unwavering in their pursuit of excellence and their goal to make the nation proud on the global basketball stag