A monumental rematch is on the horizon: Gilas Pilipinas versus Jordan for the 19th Asian Games men’s basketball gold medal. This anticipated showdown not only promises an epic battle for the coveted title but also sets the stage for an exciting preview of the forthcoming Commissioner’s Cup in the 2023-2024 PBA season, pitting Barangay Ginebra San Miguel against TNT Tropang Giga.
While the 2023-2024 PBA season is still a month away, the Gilas-Jordan final is shaping up to be an unforgettable encounter. The Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center will be the epicenter of this showdown on Friday, October 6, with eager fans ready to witness the clash between China and Chinese Taipei for the bronze medal at 4 p.m. The winner of that match will then have the honor of choosing their opponent between the Philippines and Jordan.
Both teams are fueled by immense motivation to secure the prestigious gold medal. Jordan, having never clinched the Asian Games title, aims to rewrite history and avenge past near-misses. The Philippines, last crowned champions in 1962, is driven by a burning desire to reclaim the throne after enduring a challenging path to the finals.
Jordan’s outright quarterfinal berth, earned by defeating Gilas in the preliminaries, paved the way for convincing victories over Saudi Arabia and Chinese-Taipei. In stark contrast, Gilas navigated through adversity, surviving a breathtaking comeback by Iran and orchestrating an epic rally against host China — both victories showcasing Justin Brownlee’s pivotal role.
The heart-stopping win over Iran was an enchanting display of resilience, but the thriller against China elevated it to an almost miraculous level. Both victories were sealed by missed last-second three-point attempts from the opponents’ key shooters.
Coach Tim Cone, reflecting on the emotional journey, shared, “This is special…To come back here and get this victory now is to come full cycle. It’s an emotional time for us and, I think, for everybody.” However, Cone swiftly refocused on the ultimate goal, emphasizing, “But I’m trying to keep an even keel because we got another game, and our goal still is to win the gold.”
Cone reserved special praise for Brownlee, who delivered one astonishing shot after another from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. The standout moments included a jaw-dropping stop-and-step-back three-pointer that cut China’s lead to 76-74, followed by a gravity-defying pull-up three against two defenders for the decisive 77-76 lead with 23 seconds remaining.
“Those last two shots were like impossible,” marveled Cone. “Guys were right on his face, and I thought there’s no way either of those would go in and both of them go…Boom! Boom! And I was like, wow, we have a shot! Whew! Those last two shots…they’re unforgettable. People will remember them forever.”
Jordan’s resounding victory over Chinese-Taipei, with Hollis-Jefferson leading the charge with 20 points, sets the stage for an electrifying gold medal match that promises to be a clash of titans.