Gilas Pilipinas suffers another loss vs Angola in FIBA World Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas’ chance to advance to the FIBA World Cup 2023 second round dims after receiving a severe beating from Angola, 80-70 on August 27, 2023 at the Araneta Coliseum, in Cubao, Quezon City.

Gilas Pilipinas suffers another loss vs Angola in FIBA World Cup
Jordan Clarkson-led Gilas Pilipinas lost versus Angola; FIBA World Cup 2023 second round chances got slimmer. Photo Credit: FIBA

How athletic Team Angola is? Philippines’ first ever attempt via Jordan Clarkson got massively swatted away. To add, Gilas was outrebounded and forced to commit early turnovers by the gritty Angolans.

Despite the jitters, Team Pilipinas managed to spring back quickly to turn the tides in its favor and grabbed the lead from the visiting team.

Kai Sotto who had limited play time against Dominican Republic made an early appearance alongside Japeth Aguilar for defensive purposes. The 7’3” NBA hopeful immediately dropped a deuce with a skyhook but committed 2 early fouls in less than 2 minutes.

Aside from Sotto, CJ Perez made his FIBA World Cup 2023 debut and became an instant impact to his team in the latter minutes of the opener for the 19-12 advantage.

The offensive tandem of Sotto and Perez continued in the second quarter to widen Gilas Pilipinas’ lead. Sotto however got into foul trouble that prompted Coach Reyes to re-insert June Mar Fajardo.

The Angolans made a run of their own in the second, spearheaded by Bruno Fernando who posterized Clarkson with a tomahawk dunk to cut the once double-digit lead to just a shot with over 5 minutes left.

Clarkson was Philippines’ missing link in the first half. The Utah Jazz guard struggled from all angles of the floor that signaled Angola to overtake the home team 36-33 heading to the dugout.

Clarkson finally came back to life at the start of the 3rd quarter and both squads traded blocks to pump up the crowd.

Gilas Pilipinas minimized its turnovers in the third period which has been its waterloo since the first game but Angola still managed to hold onto its slim lead.

Sotto re-entered the game after a long hibernation due to foul trouble. The GLeague alumnus provided Clarkson some ample spaces for a potential comeback.

Third quarter was quite a run for the Philippines. But the nationals’ offensive effort to downsize Angola wasn’t enough and still found themselves floored, 52-56 entering the final canto.

Gilas Pilipinas’ odds to advance to the round of sixteen got slimmer as the Angolans started to connect from the outside with or without defensive challenges in the fourth period.

Without any warning, Angola’s advantage abruptly ballooned to double-figures while Philippines kept on shooting blanks and the boys’ morale dropped too low where defeated demeanors were obviously seen in every player’s faces.

Come the 2-minute warning, Gilas Pilipinas stepped on the gas pedal and was able to cut the lead to just 5. The gallant effort however was a little bit too late as Gerson Domingos put the nail in the coffin with a cold-blooded trey.

As the final horn sounded, Angola gave Gilas Pilipinas its second loss of the tournament with the score of 80-70.

The Philippines has one more game to play on August 29 against world ranked-10 Team Italy where the former needs to win by a huge margin plus a Dominican Republic win against Angola to keep the next round hopes alive.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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