April 23, 2024

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Redemption at the PH Arena: Gilas Pilipinas takes down Lebanon, 107-96

4 min read

Gilas Pilipinas avenged its loss to Lebanon after hacking out a 107-96 victory in their face-off at the Philippine Arena, which was a sea of red and white, in the final window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers.

The energy was palpable as the players stepped onto the court, ready to make their mark on this crucial game.

IMPRESSIVE. James Malonzo shines in Gilas Pilipinas’ 107-96 redemption win over Lebanon in their final window game of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers at the Philippine Arena Friday night, February 24. PBA PHOTO

From the very start, it was clear that the Philippines meant business.

The players moved the ball with precision, executing their plays flawlessly and scoring bucket after bucket.

The crowd erupted with every point, cheering on their beloved team and urging them to victory. But Lebanon was not going down without a fight.

The Cedars matched the Philippines shot for shot, with Amir Saoud, Hayk Gyokchyan, and Sergio El Darwich leading the charge.

It was an intense battle, with both teams refusing to back down.

However, Gilas Pilipinas secured the win, thanks to an impressive team effort that saw all but one player getting on the scoreboard.

Debutant Justin Brownlee led the charge with 17 points, four rebounds, five assists, and two steals, while Mason Amos was also impressive in his first Gilas stint with 13 points, including three three-pointers.

“Yeah, you know, when you make a shot, the crowd gets going. The Filipino fans, they really appreciate basketball, and that’s what I really appreciate as well, too,” Brownlee said, adding that he just wanted to get the team off to a good start.

He also said, “I just felt like it was important right off the jump, we be aggressive, and we have that mentality.”

Jamie Malonzo, for his part, was the star who shone the brightest in the game, doing a little bit of everything and wowing the crowd with his high-flying dunks.

Malonzo had 15 points on 6-9 shooting, made three three-pointers, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out three assists on top of his one steal and two blocks. The win was also revenge for the Philippines, which had lost to the Cedars back in Window 4.

This time around, they were determined to make amends, and they did so in spectacular fashion.

With this victory, Gilas Pilipinas is now on a four-game winning streak heading into their final game of the Asian Qualifiers on 27 February against Jordan.

The clash against Lebanon was the Philippines’ highest-scoring game so far in the Asian Qualifiers, with 107 points and 17 three-pointers – tied for most in a single World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers game with Japan, Australia, and Kazakhstan.

The players moved the ball around with ease, racking up an impressive 31 assists.

As the final buzzer sounded and the crowd erupted in cheers, it was clear that this was a special moment for Philippine basketball. The players had put on a show for their fans, and they had done so with heart, skill, and determination.

With the World Cup on the horizon, the Philippines will be looking to build on this performance and make its mark on the global stage.

DEBUT WIN. Naturalized Filipino player Justin Brownlee leads the charge for Gilas Pilipinas’ rousing win over Lebanon Friday, February 24, at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. PBA PHOTO

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