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Gilas Pilipinas Dazzles with Landmark World Cup Victory Over China, Keeps Olympic Dream Alive

Gilas Pilipinas Landmark World Cup Victory
Jordan Clarkson ignites the court with a show-stopping performance, leading Gilas Pilipinas to a historic victory over China and rekindling the Philippines’ Olympic aspirations. Photo from Gilas Pilipinas social media.

In a pulse-pounding spectacle that electrified Manila’s Araneta Coliseum and sent ripples through the Filipino diaspora, Gilas Pilipinas conjured a win for the history books at the FIBA World Cup 2023. The Jordan Clarkson-led squad didn’t just defeat China; they shattered a nearly decade-long losing streak and reignited the Philippines’ dreams for Olympic glory.

On a euphoric Saturday evening, September 2, most of the 11,000 basketball enthusiasts in the Araneta Coliseum and countless others glued to live streams worldwide witnessed the Gilas Pilipinas elevate the country’s FIBA standing to 24th place. In doing so, the Philippine team ended a losing streak dating back to 2014 and clinched a coveted spot in next year’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT). Even more heartening was that this win marked the first FIBA World Cup victory on home soil, erasing memories of the winless 1978 campaign hosted in Manila.

Clarkson’s Show-Stopping Performance

Utah Jazz sensational shooting guard Jordan Clarkson, donning the jersey of his mother’s native land, unleashed a basketball symphony in the 3rd quarter that left the audience awe-struck. The NBA Sixth Man of the Year awardee notched up 20 of his 34 game points in a breathtaking four-minute span, catapulting the Filipinos to a commanding 22-point lead as the final quarter loomed.

Clarkson later reflected, “My teammates found me, got me open, I just made shots. It was great.”

JC also credited fan support for the team’s victory. “Fans continued to support us. We definitely wanted to get a win and go home with one at least. But yeah, they showed love the whole time, supported us, stayed behind us, so we kept continuing to fight.”

WATCH JC on fire here:


A Team Effort

It wasn’t just a Clarkson show. The coordinated ballet of hoops featured brilliant performances from Korean Basketball League player Rhenz Abando who had 14 points and 5 rebounds, NBA hopeful Kai Sotto who charted 12 points and 6 rebounds, and FIBA Asia BreakOut Star Dwight Ramos with his crucial 11 points and 5 rebounds. As a team, the Gilas were unstoppable, cruising to a resounding 96-75 victory.

Scores for the Philippines: 96 – Clarkson 34, Abando 14, Sotto 12, Ramos 11, Fajardo 9, Pogoy 7, Edu 5, Thompson 4,  Ravena 0, Aguilar 0.

Eye on the Olympic Prize

While the top seven FIBA teams secure an automatic ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics, the Philippine squad’s 1-4 win-loss record has earned them a slot among the 24 teams that will compete for four additional Olympic berths.

The statistical dance of the FIBA World Cup put the Philippines, China, and Angola in a win-loss scorecard tie but the Gilas’ tactical brilliance and marginally lower loss numbers gave them an edge. With a -21 point differential, they eclipsed China and Angola, slotting in at 24th place among 32 teams.

What Comes Next

As the nation savors this momentous win, all eyes turn towards Paris, where the next Olympic Games are set to unfurl from July 26 to August 11, 2024. The Philippines is eyeing the recapture of its lost glory when the FIBA Hall of Famer Carlos Loyzaga-led squad dominated Asian basketball in the 1950s to 60s.

The Philippines’ victory over China signals a brighter future for Filipino basketball. According to the FIBA report, “Stats don’t lie,” as they say; the Philippine team committed only 9 turnovers and shot a staggering 62 percent on two-pointers. The home side also dominated China in rebounds, 46-31, a testament to their relentless hustle.

So there it is, etched in the annals of Philippine sports history—an exhilarating victory that awakens dreams and fuels the imagination, not just for the players but for an entire nation yearning for glory on the world stage.

WATCH the Game Highlights of the Philippines vs. China here and if this extraordinary tale of grit, talent, and national pride has you brimming with Filipino spirit, don’t keep it to yourself! CLICK THE SHARE buttons below to spread the word on social media, and let’s rally behind Gilas Pilipinas as they set their sights on Olympic glory. Because stories like this aren’t just games; they’re the heartbeat of a nation.


Good News Pilipinas is a Lasallian Scholarum Awardee. TELL US your good news story tips by messaging GoodNewsPilipinas.com on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, or e-mailing editor@goodnewspilipinas.com

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The Good News Pilipinas Team
The Good News Pilipinas Team
The Good News Pilipinas Team is a group of Filipino journalists who advocate putting more good news stories about the Philippines and Filipinos on the media.

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