Gilas Pilipinas hung tough in the face of China’s furious rally in the fourth quarter to get away with a gigantic 96-87 upset win over the defending champion in both the teams' first outing in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon.
Terrence Romeo hit a game-high 26 points, including two important baskets in the closing minutes, to finish Team China that was bannered by four Olympians, including Li Gen and Guo Ailun.
Fil-German Christian Standhardinger debuted in the FIBA Asia with 15 points and 6 rebounds. His baskets came mostly off the feeds by Gilas main point guard Jayson Castro, who had 13 points and 7 assists in the game that appeared headed to a blowout for the Philippines.
Japeth Aguilar led the Gilas frontline as he logged 5 of Gilas’ 9 blockshots, on top of 7 points.
Gilas matched the height and heft of China to lead by as much as 17 points several times in the game, the last one at 52-35 just before halftime.
Calvin Abueva’s toughness in the face of China’s rugged game best exemplified the tenacity of the Gilas squad as he was ejected out of the game after head-butting China’s Li Gen, dubbed the Bad Boy of Chinese basketball, early in the first quarter.
Abuevas’ action was in retaliation to Li’s hitting him with a closed fist on the back of his head. Unfortunately, Li’s offensive infraction was not seen by the referee.
Abueva was disqualified from the game on account of flagrant foul 2.
With the Chinese big men getting checked by their Gilas counterparts, China shifted its offense using its shooters, getting successful from beyond the arc to come close to 59-50 early in the third. Slowly, they were able to take the lead for the first time, 82-83, in the fourth quarter.
Then Romeo took over from there for the Gilas, as he scored at will on one-on-one plays. He hit a triple from way out for a 92-87 lead before being replaced by Gabe Norwood in the final seconds.
Unleashing from its underdog tag, Gilas raced to a 7-0 start and appeared headed to a lopsided win until Chinese shooters put their team back into the game in the final canto.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.