Gilas Pilipinas’ fourth-place finish in the FIBA 3 x 3 Asia Cup held in Singapore late Sunday evening earned praise from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas ( SBP ), the national governing body of basketball.
The Gilas bid its medal hopes goodbye after bowing to China, 18 – 20, in their battle for bronze on July 10, on the same day that the Filipinos upset top-seed Mongolia ( 21-20 ) earlier in the quarter-finals.
SBP, in its Facebook page post on July 11, congratulated the Gilas Pilipinas men’s 3 x 3 squad for their fourth – place finish having earned their spot through the qualifying draw. The team, composed of Almond Vosotros, Samboy De Leon, and Lervin Flores of the TNT Tropang Giga and Joseph Eriobu of the Purefoods TJ Titans, was a 10 – 1 underdog in the game against the 3 x 3 specialists but they found a way to overcome the odds and finish in the top four with Australia, New Zealand, and China.
” This is the Philippines’ best-ever finish in the FIBA 3 x 3 Asia Cup and a clear sign that the partnership with the PBA is working out well. The SBP thanks the players for their sacrifice as well as their coaches Mau Belen of TNT and Tony Boy Espinosa of Purefoods, ” the SBP said in its statement.
Glias Pilipinas’ best finish
Gilas Pilipinas’ fourth place was the country’s best finish in the 3 × 3 tournament since the 2013 quarterfinals entry of Kevin Ferrer, Robby Celiz, Bacon Austria, and Gio Ciriacruz.
The sports body also lauded the coaches who joined the team in Singapore in Pioneer Pro Tibay’s Lester Del Rosario, SPB 3 x 3 Program Director Ronnie Magsanoc, and PBA 3 x 3 Tournament Director Joey Guanio.
SBP continued, ” The success of Gilas in Singapore was the result of the hard work of the entire PBA 3 x 3 community. When the SBP brought up the idea of launching a 3 x 3 league, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial bought in from the start and we also got amazing support from PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas and the entire Board of Governors with PBA 3 x 3 Commissioner Dickie Bachmann taking the lead. “
” From the coaches and trainers who prepare the athletes to their opponents who toughen them up with good competition to the PBA and SBP staff for always making sure that the tournaments run smoothly, this victory is also yours. The SBP and the PBA will continue working hand in hand to show our Lakas ng Tatlo, ” SBP added.
Glias Pilipinas’ size problem
Gilas, though lacking in size but not in heart, fought China down the stretch as they tried to stay alive behind the heroics of Almond Vosotros who managed to tie the match at 12 – all with his two free throws and a deuce. But China snatched back the lead with Liu Zeyi’s two-pointer, 14 – 12.
Vosotros just could not give up so easily as he forced another deadlock at 15 – all, yet the Chinese showed much firepower as Liu and Zhao Jiaren combined forces to grab the lead anew, 20 – 16, with barely 40 seconds left in the match.
Lervin Flores then canned a deuce to cut China’s advantage to two, with only 30 seconds to go. But the Philippines failed to earn extra time following Vosotros’ missed attempts.
Final result for FIBA 3 x 3
China salvaged the bronze as Liu top-billed the squad with nine points while Zhao chipped in six.
Vosotros, for his part, made eight markers for Gilas while Joseph Eriobu, Flores, and Samboy de Leon added five, three, and two points, respectively.
Gilas earlier absorbed a 13 – 21 beating at the hands of New Zealand in their semifinals clash.
Meanwhile, Australia hacked out a thrilling 21 – 17 win over New Zealand in the men’s gold medal match to complete a three-peat 21 – 17 win through the heroics of Andrew Steel who accounted for eight points. The Tall Blacks settled for the silver.
On the distaff side, China shocked defending champion Australia, 14-10, to capture their first Asia Cup title.