Gilas Pilipinas has reached the end of the road of their FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) bid after losing against Serbia (83-76) and Dominican Republic (94-67).

/ 2 July 2021

The young core squad put up a strong fight against the Dominican Republic by giving an all-out offense and defense after ending the first quarter of the game with only one point behind, 22-23.

And came the second quarter, Gilas immediately took the lead coming from the two points of the small forward William Navarro, 24-23. The national team continued to rally with triples bolstered by Jordan heading, blocks by Kai Sotto, back-to-back rim attacks of Torres Cuevas; finished the half of the game with two points on the lead 41-39.

Yet, the second half of the fight became no good to Gilas as Dominican Republic continued to go on their aggressive attacks, stretching the lead to double digits, 65-51. And with the continued push of the Dominicans, the Philippines suffered its second loss 94-67.

“It was obviously a tough game for us today,” coach Tab Baldwin said. 

“No excuses and not much to say about it other than that we were outplayed, outcoached, and outgunned. You’ve got to give Dominican Republic credit for the way that they played and doing what they had to do to win and win convincingly.”

Nevertheless, unlike the second game, the first game of the team was nothing but a good fight with the breathtaking performance of the cadets.

Even without one of the main gunners of the team Dwight Ramos, Serbia had to win a hard-fought victory, 83-76.

Serbia being penned as the world’s No. 5 ranked basketball team and silver medalist in the 2016 Rio Olympics and with NBA player Boban Marjanovic joining the squad it’s no wonder that Gilas really gave them a hard time.

The start was not in favor of Gilas as the first three minutes of the game European powerhouse slammed PH with an 11-2 score, and ended the first quarter with a 5 point lead, 22-16.

Serbias’ advantage continued as Marjanovic, Dobric led the squad until getting a double-digit lead, however, Heading’s threes and Angelo Kouame’s two’s closed the gap into single digits, 25-34. Still not enough to stop Serbia at the end of the second quarter, 45-34.

The halftime was still not in Gilas’ hand as they ended the third quarter 62-67. As the last quarter started the teams were dauntless to give shots as they took score one after another and with only a minute left in the shot clock, Gilas closed the gap into three points 79-76. Yet the remaining time was dominated by Serbia ending the game in a close win, 83-76.

And despite the plausible performance of the youngsters, Baldwin averred that a loss is still a loss saying that  “a lot of people will look at this as some sort of moral victory. But I’ve been in this game for such a long time and I just don’t believe in those.”