GILAS Pilipinas aims to build on its early success in its continued quest in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon after starting its campaign with a big bang.
Playing the underdogs once more with two of its top bigs not available, the Philippines banked on its trademark “Puso” to pull off easily the tournament’s biggest stunner in the early goings, knocking out defending champion and perennial powerhouse China, 96-87, in its initial assignment Wednesday night.
Leaving everything on the floor, Gilas Pilipinas made the country proud by surprisingly controlling most part of the game with an early double-digit lead and by standing its ground when it mattered the most – during winning time.
Just when China thought it had the Philippines where it wanted, after a ferocious comeback to take an 87-84 edge heading into the final minute, Gilas Pilipinas stood its ground and fought back to shake off the mighty Goliaths of Asia.
Thanks to one Terrence Romeo.
Romeo scored the next eight points, two long triples and a tough fadeaway jumper, and that was the game right there.
He carried the Philippines on his broad shoulders and sent China down for the count, making millions of Filipinos go crazy back home.
Romeo wasn’t alone though. Unsung heroes Japeth Aguilar, Gabe Norwood, Christian Standhardinger and Raymund Almazan all chipped in to make sure the huge victory was guaranteed.
Now, the team turns its attention on Iraq in their 6:30 p.m. (local time) battle tonight with a golden chance to move to 2-0 in Group B play.
It is essential for Gilas Pilipinas to sweep the group to avoid an early clash with powerhouses Australia and New Zealand in the playoff phase of the tournament and have a better chance of going deep into the tournament and having a crack at the crown.
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