Gilas Pilipinas dominates China to close FIBA World Cup campaign

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas dominated China to end their FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 campaign in a winning note, 96-75 on Saturday, September 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Gilas Pilipinas dominates China to close FIBA World Cup campaign
Jordan Clarkson saved the best for last as Gilas Pilipinas avoided another winless FIBA World Cup run. Photo courtesy of FIBA

Jordan Clarkson exploded with 34 points as Philippines rewarded the home crowd of 11,080 with the win in the Classification 17-32 Group M.

In the third quarter alone, Clarkson delivered 24 points in less than four minutes.

Gilas ended its FIBA World Cup campaign with a 1-4 record.

"We just asked the players today to play with joy in their hearts and to dig deep. In fact, we didn't have any X's and O's in our pregame board. We just had two words, dig deep. And that's what the players did. Playing for nothing but pride, but we wanted to gift the Filipino people with something to end our World Cup, and the players did it," said Gilas coach Chot Reyes.

The host country avoided becoming the third host nation to go winless at a World Cup, following Philippines in 1978 and Columbia in 1982.

The victory improved Philippines' all-time mark against China to 10-6.

It was the first time these teams faced off in the World Cup and the second meeting on the global stage after Philippines' 51-32 win in the 1948 Olympics.

The Philippines committed only 9 turnovers and shot 62 percent on two-pointers. The home side also held China to just 24 percent from long range and out-rebounded them 46-31 including 13 offensive rebounds.

Philippines and China both missed out on qualifying directly to the 2024 Olympics as the best placed team from Asia but Philippines booked a spot in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.

Meanwhile, Reyes announced he is "stepping aside" as head coach of the Philippine men’s basketball team.

"I signed up to do a job, and we did not deliver the result. So, I think it is time to step aside and allow the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) to make a decision for the good of the program," Reyes said.

The Scores

Philippines 96 – Clarkson 34, Abando 14, Sotto 12, Ramos 11, Fajardo 9, Pogoy 7, Edu 5, Thompson 4, Ravena 0, Aguilar 0.

China 75 – Li 17, Zhang 13, M. Hu 12, R. Zhao 12, J. Hu 10, Zhu 5, Cui 2, Fu 2, Zhou 2, J. Zhao 0.

Quarters: 16-16, 39-40, 73-51, 96-75.

— The Summit Express

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