HomeGood SportPhilippines Two Wins Away from Historic Olympics Qualification

Philippines Two Wins Away from Historic Olympics Qualification

Team Philippines at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga, Latvia. Gilas Pilipinas FB photo.

The Philippines’ Men’s National Basketball Team, Gilas Pilipinas, is just two wins away from a historic 2024 Paris Olympics berth after bouncing back from a 20-point deficit in their game against Georgia.

Despite a close 94-96 loss, Gilas Pilipinas secured a Final Four spot at the International Basketball Federation Olympic Qualifying Tournament (FIBA OQT) in Arena Riga, Latvia.

Gilas reached the semifinal with a better points difference. They bested Latvia 89-80 in the first game and narrowly lost to Georgia. Georgia’s heavy loss to the home team, 83-55, also played a crucial role.

The Philippines (+7) and Latvia (+19) advance to the semifinals as the top two qualifiers from Group A.

Justin Brownlee, the back-to-back Player of the Game, led the Filipinos with 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. More than his numbers, Brownlee’s immense contribution was bringing the team back in the game when it seemed the Paris Olympic dream was no longer attainable.

In the post-game presser, Brownlee said, “We feel great. We battled hard. The guys fought being down 17-18 points. We still didn’t lose our confidence. We’re excited to be here for sure. Overall I’m just excited to be in the Semi-Finals.

WATCH the Philippines score baskets in their game against Georgia here:

Slow Start, Strong Finish
The Philippine team started slow, going scoreless in the first minutes of the game, 0-16, and went as far down by as much as 20 points in the 2nd – a scenario that Georgia wanted to keep as they needed to win by at least 19 points to bump off Gilas from the final four.

Things looked dismal for most of the first half as the Filipinos’ attempts to overturn the game kept failing. Compounding its woes, big man Kai Sotto was sidelined after an injury in the second quarter.

But the renowned Filipino resilience buoyed the team spirit as Gilas climbed up steadily to tie the game five times and even lead for the first time at 71-70 in the third.

The Gilas Pilipinas Men kept shooting and converting 13 of 23 from the three-point range and were even leading In the dying minutes of the game. Despite the 2-point loss, the team was victorious over Georgia and is advancing to the crossover semis to vie for the lone Olympic spot.

We had our tickets to leave tomorrow, I guess we’re gonna have to move it back a little bit. That’s how surprised we are. It’s the first time I feel good about losing. It could have been an easy panic time when we were down 20, but they really showed their resilience,” shared Coach Tim Cone, architect of the team’s historic Asian Games victory.

Kai Sotto’s Injury Update
Kai Sotto was taken to the hospital for a rib injury. Reports indicate he could be healed after some rest and maybe ready to play in the semifinals.

WATCH the Game highlights here:

FIBA OQT Semi-Finals Schedule
The FIBA OQT Semi-Finals are scheduled on Saturday, July 6, at the Arena Riga.

July 6

  • Brazil v Philippines – 15:30 Local Time (12:30 GMT, 8:30 PM PhST)
  • Cameroon v Latvia -19:00 Local Time (17:00 GMT)

A victory over Brazil will send the Philippines to the Finals on Sunday for a do-or-die match against the winner of the Cameroon-Latvia game for the lone Olympic berth.

Here’s how to watch the game live:

Support Gilas Pilipinas on their journey to the 2024 Paris Olympics! Share this article and spread the word about our team’s incredible resilience and determination. Go Gilas!

Be part of our vibrant Good News Pilipinas community, celebrating the best of the Philippines and our global Filipino heroes. As winners of the Gold Anvil Award and the Lasallian Scholarum Award, we invite you to engage with us and share your inspiring stories. For stories Making Every Filipino Proud, reach out to GoodNewsPilipinas.com via FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokYouTube, and LinkedInLinkTree here. Let’s spread good news together!

Facebook Comments
Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.

Get Your Dose of Good Vibes!

Power Up Your Positivity! Catch all the Good-Vibes! Join the GoodNewsPilipinas.com VIP list and get your daily dose of sunshine and Pinoy Pride! Unwrap stories that put Filipino awesomeness in your life! CLICK the subscribe button for our e-newsletter and turn your inbox into a fiesta of feel-good news! Inspire your day, fuel your pride! 🇵🇭✨

- Advertisment -

Top Stories