CONGRATULATIONS!!!

GILAS PROVES IT CAN COMPETE WITH WORLD'S BEST IN ANOTHER CLOSE LOSS 

With all its disadvantages and limitations, Gilas Pilipinas battled world No. 3 Argentina every step of the way, tripping up just in the dying seconds in an 81-85 loss in Day Three of the 2014 FIBA World Cup at the Centro Deportivo San Pablo here Monday night (early Tuesday morning in Manila). The gutsy Philippine side, considered gatecrasher in this tourney among the world’s giants, nearly upset Argentina and its NBA players in another sparkling performance reaffirming its worth as not just one of those teams in Asia. It’s another loss that felt like a win, its impact much bigger than the game that also barely slipped away from the team Saturday versus Croatia. “Yun ang nakakabwisit sana tambakan na lang tayo. Pero the fact na dumidikit at lumalaban tayo (That’s what disappointing. It’s better to lose by a big margin against these teams. The fact that we’re staying close, fighting), it shows that we can compete with these teams,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes. “Sayang, konti lang. Mistakes here and there, lapses here and there. Missed rebounds here and there. Napakaliit ng diperensya,” Reyes added.

Against this one-time world championship winner and one-time Olympic champ, Gilas Pilipinas barely lost as Jayson Castro failed to elude his defender, his three-point shot slightly deflected then he was called for a traveling violation with 12.7 ticks left in the clock. A pair of charities by Andres Nocioni in the last six seconds sealed their win in the game where the Argentines saw themselves thrice trail by 10 in the first half then get a big scare as the Filipinos gallantly fought back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit. Jimmy Alapag, the smallest man on the floor, was Argentina’s biggest thorn with the pesky Talk n Text playmaker scoring all of his 15 points in the last 11 minutes of the nerve-wracking contest. He fired away four treys and completed one three-point play in a bristling 28-14 run that shoved the Nationals to within one at 81-82 with 2:03 left. A miss by Nocioni from close range opened an opportunity for Gilas to regain the lead but Andray Blatche misfired a trey. From there, Nocioni made three charities while the New York Knicks guard Pablo Prigioni put the winning defensive stop on Castro as Argentina got the big relief, keeping a share of Group B second place with Croatia and Senegal at 2-1. *READ MORE...

ALSO after 40 years: Gilas PH finally scores win in FIBA World Cup 

SEPTEMBER 4, 2014, SEVILLE, Spain — Jimmy Alapag belted out his international swan song very, very well, and spearheaded Gilas Pilipinas in dishing out what it had been receiving all week-long in the Fiba World Cup: a heartbreaker. Holding the Filipinos together when Gilas’ go-to-guy left because of fouls, Alapag scored five free throws inside the final 45 seconds for an 81-79 victory over Senegal – the country’s first win in this meet in 40 years – before flag-waving, teary-eyed countrymen at Centro Deportivo San Pablo here. The 5-foot-8 Alapag scored 18 points and held the fort when Andray Blatche picked up his fifth foul with a good 1:55 left as the Filipinos survived the loss of a 13-point lead in the first half and a stubborn Senegal side to go out in style.

“All of our kababayans around the world deserve this win,” Alapag said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege playing for the national team. I’ve enjoyed every minute that I played. “We are so passionate (about the game) and I can feel the energy of all the Filipinos all over the world out there tonight,” he said. Gilas seemed headed to another disastrous finish after losing that 13-point lead and a three-point edge inside the final 1:32 of regulation, when the Filipinos couldn’t pluck down that one defensive rebound which would have sealed it right there. Maleye Ndoye knocked the triple that sewed it all up at 64 before the Filipinos, through LA Tenorio, muffed the game-winning floater inside the paint at the buzzer. The loss left the Senegalese with a 2-3 record after they had yielded a 19-0 run to the Filipinos in the second quarter. The real image of Gilas Pilipinas’ “Puso!” battle cry, Alapag quarterbacked the Filipinos with great effectiveness when Blatche walked back to the bench, and June Mar Fajardo was only too willing to help. *READ MORE...

(ALSO) Argentina coach: Filipinos made us look like fools 

PHOTO: Philippines’ centre Andray Blatche (L) vies with Argentina’s forward Luis Scola during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships group B match Argentina vs Philippines at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes in Sevilla on September 1, 2014. AFP
SEVILLE, Spain—He didn’t mince words in airing his dislike for Gilas Pilipinas a couple of days back, but after seeing the gallant Filipinos take Argentina to the limit, Greece coach Folios Katsikaris has become a fan.

And most of all, Katsikaris was glad that his wards heeded his words when they played the Philippines. “I have some friends in the Philippines who told me that basketball back there is like a religion,” the 47-year-old coach said. “They told me that it was going to be very, very tough when we play Gilas.” Katsikaris said that no one believed him while they were viewing tapes of Philippine games before coming here, and that the consensus of his players was that the Filipinos would be easy preys because they lack the size. “It’s a good thing that they listened to me, ultimately,” Katsikaris said. “It took me a long time to convince them. Had they not believed me, we would have been the one (who lost).” *READ MORE...

ALSO by Joaquin Henson : Healing priest lauds Gilas  

SEVILLE – All the way from Lucban came a text message from healing priest Fr. Joey Faller who is a basketball fanatic. Fr. Faller, 50, is an avid follower of the PBA and UAAP. Over at the Kamay Ni Hesus healing center in Lucban, there is a full-sized basketball court where Fr. Faller still finds time to burn the hoops. Fr. Faller, like millions of Filipino fans, never imagined Gilas to push the world’s No. 3 team Argentina to the limit at the FIBA World Cup. The Philippines had a chance to win it in regulation with a triple or send it into overtime with a twinner but bungled the final play as Jayson Castro was called for a travelling violation and Gilas was forced to give up a foul with 6.6 seconds to go. Argentina held on to win, 85-81, and coach Julio Lamas must’ve prayed a million novenas to thank the Lord for the escape act. That loss was one of three which could’ve gone the Philippines’ way in Group B action. The first was the 81-78 overtime loss to Croatia.

The Philippines had a chance to seal it in regulation but Castro elected to pass off to Jeff Chan instead of take it strong to the hole. Chan was surprised to get the pass and threw up an off-balance shot that hit the side of the rim at the buzzer. The second was the Argentine squeaker and the third was the 77-73 setback to Puerto Rico. The Philippines’ average losing margin was only 5.6 points in five games and three were by four or below. If the Philippines won any one of those three losses, it would’ve advanced to the round-of-16, leaving Puerto Rico and Senegal behind. That was how close Gilas was to moving forward. And to think that this was the Philippines’ first foray at the FIBA World Cup in 36 years. The win over Senegal was the Philippines’ first in FIBA World Cup history in 40 years or after the 87-86 victory over the Central African Republic on June 12, 1974, in Puerto Rico.

Without a doubt, the Philippines was the most successful Asian country at the FIBA World Cup this year. FIBA Asia champion Iran lost four games by an average margin of 19.3 points while South Korea couldn’t buy a win and was crushed by an average margin of 21.8 points. Iran beat Egypt, 88-73, but was walloped by Spain, 90-60, Brazil, 79-50, Serbia, 83-70 and France, 81-76. South Korea fell to Angola, 80-69, Australia, 89-55, Slovenia, 89-72, Lithuania, 79-49 and Mexico, 87-71. In terms of ranking, Iran finished fifth in Group A with a 1-4 record, the Philippines sixth in Group B with 1-4 and South Korea sixth in Group D with 0-5. None of the Asian countries made it to the next round. Here’s what Fr. Faller said in his text: “I still cannot get over the Gilas game against the No. 3 best basketball team in the world, Argentina. I have seen so many beautiful places in Boracay but I just cannot simply forget this super mega showcase of Filipino talent in basketball. What a game! *CONTINUIE READING FR. JOEY'S TEXT...

ALSO by Bill Velasco: The Gilas Pilipinas effect  

The last week has been an emotional rollercoaster for millions of Filipino basketball fans. In a span of six days, we felt hope, exasperation, doubt, despair, reluctance to hope again, then finally, joy and relief. The world’s basketball secret is out: the Philippines is for real. No Hollywood scriptwriter could have dreamed of this ride for Gilas Pilipinas. From 2005, when the Philippines was suspended from international basketball and couldn’t even stage the event in its own hosting of the Southeast Asian Games to today, who would have imagined the turn-around? “It has been quite a journey for Gilas, starting in Tokyo in August of 2006, through the twists and the turns of the SBP,” recalled Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas head Manny Pangilinan in a text message after Gilas Pilipinas lost to Croatia in overtime. “And now, here we are today – one of the best 24 basketball countries in the world. I’m mighty proud of this team and our coaches.” The sport has always been a galvanizing force in the Philippines. Traffic stops, crime goes down, bars and coffee shops fill, even in the most ungodly hours due to time differences. We disagree on almost everything, even on whether or not we should love this mistress named basketball, who used to favor the taller, more athletic, non-Filipino player. But perhaps she’s looking our way now.

The world’s sports media certainly has, we are no longer the big fish in a little pond of ASEAN. We are now the giant slayers from Asia: no seven-footers, no NBA players. Angola was very similar just over a decade ago, when they climbed to eleventh in the world. In 2019, Asia and Oceania will be merged, and our pond will get that much bigger, great times loom ahead. After the loss to Puerto Rico, people criticized Gilas Pilipinas simply because they felt let down. They questioned Chot Reyes and his choice of players, his choice of system. But they placed those expectations upon themselves and the team. Those of us who know the game said one win was doable, two a long shot. Nobody gave the Philippines a chance. Famous sports websites didn’t even bother to get the team’s line-up, Gilas Pilipinas fought through line-up changes and injuries and long odds. They were always the underdogs, the shortest team in Spain. People felt disappointed and didn’t know how to handle it. Then they made their private embarrassment public. But who could have foreseen a career game from JJ Barea? As someone who knows a little about basketball, I have my disappointment, but no blaming. I have my sadness, but also gratitude. And I have no patience for fair weather fans who jump off the bandwagon more quickly than they jump on it.

What does it mean for Philippine basketball to literally be back in the spotlight? In 1999, Efren Reyes won the first World 9Ball tournament in Cardiff, Wales. It was an acknowledgment of his being the world’s best pool player. Billiards multiplied hundreds of percent in the country, and 15 years down the road, the sport has boomed. The country now hosts several international tournaments each year, and our players have conquered the sport in all its permutations. What Gilas has done is shown a bright spotlight on the sport’s international potential in our country. Aside from Japeth Aguilar and Gabe Norwood, none of our other players played in the NCAA tournament in the US. That will change, as scouts from major colleges and even European club teams will want players with the fighting heart of a Filipino. This will mean more of the next generation of players will benefit from the Gilas Pilipinas breakthrough, as this generation of Azkals hope they have done for their successors. In other words, things have changed in a big way. To paraphrase the late Steve Jobs, we have made a dent in the basketball universe. *READ MORE...

(ALSO) History Lesson: The Philippine team's record in the FIBA world tournament  

Before being rechristened the Basketball World Cup, international body FIBA's top competition was known as the World Championship. On Saturday, the national team will return to the tournament for the first time in 36 years, when Gilas Pilipinas takes the court against Croatia. Despite the prolonged absence, it's a tournament where the Philippines has a rich history, having competed in the tournament four times, and winning a medal once. Here's a look back at the Philippines' previous stints in the basketball world stage. 1954 FIBA World Championship The national team posted its highest achievement in the tournament during the 1954 FIBA World Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The squad led by basketball legend Caloy Loyzaga bagged the bronze medal that year after winning six out of nine games.

The country defeated Paraguay, Israel, Formosa, Canada, France, and Uruguay, bowing only to eventual gold and silver medalists USA and Brazil. Loyzaga led the team in scoring with 16.4 points per game, including a 31-point performance against Uruguay in the final round. Lauro "The Fox" Mumar also chipped in 9.9 points per game and a solid 24-point output against Canada. Loyzaga, who was nicknamed "The Big Difference," ranked fourth among the top scorers of the tournament. He also landed a spot in the mythical five with USA's Kirby Minter, Uruguay's Oscar Moglia, and Brazil's Zenny de Azevedo and Wlamir Marques. The bronze medal finish is the strongest performance by an Asian country in the tournament. With the feat, the team also booked a ticket to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, finishing seventh.
1959 FIBA World Championship *READ MORE...


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Gilas proves it can compete with world’s best in another close loss


Gabe Norwood of Gilas Pilipinas goes up for a dunk against Argentina's Luis Scola in their 2014 FIBA World Cup game in Spain early Tuesday.

SEVILLE, SPAIN, SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Nelson Beltran - FIBA.com Games Wednesday:

1:30 p.m. – Philippines vs Puerto Rico

5:30 p.m. – Senegal vs Argentina

10 p.m. – Greece vs Croatia

With all its disadvantages and limitations, Gilas Pilipinas battled world No. 3 Argentina every step of the way, tripping up just in the dying seconds in an 81-85 loss in Day Three of the 2014 FIBA World Cup at the Centro Deportivo San Pablo here Monday night (early Tuesday morning in Manila).

The gutsy Philippine side, considered gatecrasher in this tourney among the world’s giants, nearly upset Argentina and its NBA players in another sparkling performance reaffirming its worth as not just one of those teams in Asia.

It’s another loss that felt like a win, its impact much bigger than the game that also barely slipped away from the team Saturday versus Croatia.

“Yun ang nakakabwisit sana tambakan na lang tayo. Pero the fact na dumidikit at lumalaban tayo (That’s what disappointing. It’s better to lose by a big margin against these teams. The fact that we’re staying close, fighting), it shows that we can compete with these teams,” said Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes.

“Sayang, konti lang. Mistakes here and there, lapses here and there. Missed rebounds here and there. Napakaliit ng diperensya,” Reyes added.

Against this one-time world championship winner and one-time Olympic champ, Gilas Pilipinas barely lost as Jayson Castro failed to elude his defender, his three-point shot slightly deflected then he was called for a traveling violation with 12.7 ticks left in the clock.

A pair of charities by Andres Nocioni in the last six seconds sealed their win in the game where the Argentines saw themselves thrice trail by 10 in the first half then get a big scare as the Filipinos gallantly fought back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit.

Jimmy Alapag, the smallest man on the floor, was Argentina’s biggest thorn with the pesky Talk n Text playmaker scoring all of his 15 points in the last 11 minutes of the nerve-wracking contest.

He fired away four treys and completed one three-point play in a bristling 28-14 run that shoved the Nationals to within one at 81-82 with 2:03 left.

A miss by Nocioni from close range opened an opportunity for Gilas to regain the lead but Andray Blatche misfired a trey.

From there, Nocioni made three charities while the New York Knicks guard Pablo Prigioni put the winning defensive stop on Castro as Argentina got the big relief, keeping a share of Group B second place with Croatia and Senegal at 2-1.

* The Philippines, absent in the world championship in the last 36 years, is now at 0-3, losing to Croatia, Greece and Argentina by an average margin of only 6.3 points.

The Filipinos were beaten by the Argentines by a mere possession with coach Julio Lamas making a defensive switch, denying Alapag in the dying seconds.

“We ran a play where we set a screen for Jimmy. But coach Lamas did a great job of bringing back (Facundo) Campazzo to deny Jimmy,” said Reyes.

“And the one time we wanted Jayson to go hard to the basket, he pulled up. But I can’t fault Jayson as every time he tries to go to the hoop, he can’t finish because of the tall defense,” Reyes added.

Playing like grizzled warriors in the world meet, the Filipinos surprisingly dominated most of the first half on a high-octane game with highlight plays from Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo and Gabe Norwood.

Castro, De Ocampo and Paul Lee combined for six three-pointers in a high-percentage shooting while Gabe Norwood soared above Luis Scola and Prigioni for a pair of jams that rocked the venue.

Matching up well with Argentine longtime mainstay Walter Herrmann, De Ocampo topscored for Gilas with 18 points, but couldn’t finish the game due to cramps.

“Ibabalik namin sana even in our last possession, pero talagang hindi kaya,” rued Reyes.

Blatche scored the game’s first two baskets but drew two quick fouls that limited him to four minutes of action in the first half.

But a riveting start had Gilas Pilipinas leading the first 18 minutes of the game even with Blatche rooting on the bench.

The brave combination of De Ocampo, Junmar Fajardo, Castro, Norwood and LA Tenorio ran a show for the Philippines before Argentina came through with a decisive attack in the second quarter and grabbed a 43-38 lead at halftime.

Upon his return to the floor, Blatche scored on a drive, but then Prigioni had a three-point attempt that got a lucky bounce at the buzzer, and the Argentines carried a five-point lead over into the final half.

The Filipinos drew level at 48 on a 10-5 start in the third period, but the Argentines, on the hot sniping of Priogini and inside incursions by Scola and Nocioni, reestablished control at 68-53.

But the Filipinos wouldn’t be daunted and wouldn’t fade.

Gilas fought till the dying seconds in a proud performance that would be remembered for a long, long time.

The scores:

Argentina 85 – Scola 19, Mata 17, Laprovittola 10, Herrmann 10, Nocioni 9, Campazzo 9, Prigioni 8, Gutierrez 3.

Philippines 81 – De Ocampo 18, Alapag 15, Blatche 14, Castro 11, Fajardo 6, Lee 6, Norwood 6, Tenorio 3, Aguilar 2, Chan 0, Pingris 0.

Quarterscores: 22, 25, 43-38, 71-61, 85-81

FROM THE INQUIRER

Gilas PH finally scores win in FIBA World Cup By Musong R. Castillo |Philippine Daily Inquirer9:59 pm | Thursday, September 4th, 2014
 



SEVILLE, Spain — Jimmy Alapag belted out his international swan song very, very well, and spearheaded Gilas Pilipinas in dishing out what it had been receiving all week-long in the Fiba World Cup: a heartbreaker.

Holding the Filipinos together when Gilas’ go-to-guy left because of fouls, Alapag scored five free throws inside the final 45 seconds for an 81-79 victory over Senegal – the country’s first win in this meet in 40 years – before flag-waving, teary-eyed countrymen at Centro Deportivo San Pablo here.

The 5-foot-8 Alapag scored 18 points and held the fort when Andray Blatche picked up his fifth foul with a good 1:55 left as the Filipinos survived the loss of a 13-point lead in the first half and a stubborn Senegal side to go out in style.

“All of our kababayans around the world deserve this win,” Alapag said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege playing for the national team. I’ve enjoyed every minute that I played.

“We are so passionate (about the game) and I can feel the energy of all the Filipinos all over the world out there tonight,” he said.
Gilas seemed headed to another disastrous finish after losing that 13-point lead and a three-point edge inside the final 1:32 of regulation, when the Filipinos couldn’t pluck down that one defensive rebound which would have sealed it right there.

Maleye Ndoye knocked the triple that sewed it all up at 64 before the Filipinos, through LA Tenorio, muffed the game-winning floater inside the paint at the buzzer.

The loss left the Senegalese with a 2-3 record after they had yielded a 19-0 run to the Filipinos in the second quarter.

The real image of Gilas Pilipinas’ “Puso!” battle cry, Alapag quarterbacked the Filipinos with great effectiveness when Blatche walked back to the bench, and June Mar Fajardo was only too willing to help.

* While Alapag played his last international game, Fajardo announced his coming as a force in the shaded lane when he battered his way around a phalanx of Senegalese beanpoles to shoot 15 points and grab nine rebounds.

“We showed the whole world that we belonged, that we could compete,” Gilas coach Chot Reyes said during the customary coaches’ post-game interview. “Tonight we showed them that we could win.”

Reyes had a very short rotation, with Marc Pingris seeing scant minutes and Jason Castro not playing at all. Both are nursing injuries.

But nine men contributed offensively, with Blatche also shooting 18 and grabbing 14 rebounds.

Not since the 1974 edition in Puerto Rico has the Philippines won a World Cup game, carving out a couple of one-point victories over Australia and the Central African Republic to finish 13th out of 14 countries.

Gilas may have finished with a 1-4 record this time, but the way it played – and gave global powerhouses fits this week – certainly installed the Filipinos as the darlings of this tournament.

Senegal went 71-69 up when Blatche committed his final foul on Ibrahima Thomas, who knocked down two free throws.

Fajardo tied it all up for the last time at 71 with 1:35 remaining; Ranidel De Ocampo had two free throws and Fajardo another two freebies that got the Philippines zooming away.

Alapag then made 5-of-6 from the stripe from there which sandwiched a triple by Maurice Ndour as a 79-74 lead made the final 11 minutes academic.

A poignant scene was when the Filipinos went to the stands to hug family and fans that have come from everywhere just to cheer them and never left them even after four straight losses.

“This one is for them, it’s been 40 years,” Alapag said.

Argentina coach: Filipinos made us look like fools By Musong R. Castillo |Philippine Daily Inquirer4:44 am | Thursday, September 4th, 2014


Philippines’ centre Andray Blatche (L) vies with Argentina’s forward Luis Scola during the 2014 FIBA World basketball championships group B match Argentina vs Philippines at the Palacio Municipal de Deportes in Sevilla on September 1, 2014. AFP

SEVILLE, Spain—He didn’t mince words in airing his dislike for Gilas Pilipinas a couple of days back, but after seeing the gallant Filipinos take Argentina to the limit, Greece coach Folios Katsikaris has become a fan.

And most of all, Katsikaris was glad that his wards heeded his words when they played the Philippines.

“I have some friends in the Philippines who told me that basketball back there is like a religion,” the 47-year-old coach said. “They told me that it was going to be very, very tough when we play Gilas.”

Katsikaris said that no one believed him while they were viewing tapes of Philippine games before coming here, and that the consensus of his players was that the Filipinos would be easy preys because they lack the size.

“It’s a good thing that they listened to me, ultimately,” Katsikaris said. “It took me a long time to convince them. Had they not believed me, we would have been the one (who lost).”

* The Greeks, the fifth-ranked team in the globe, survived a physical game with the Filipinos, 82-70, on Sunday (Monday in Manila) with Katsikaris later branding his foes as “dangerous in playing the game.”

The next day, he saw the Filipinos drop a close one to world No. 3 Argentina, 85-81.

“I was very, very happy that we stayed focused because of what we saw with the Argentina game the next day, I was happy we won,” Katsikaris said.

Coach Julio Lamas of Argentina may have had the tougher time convincing his players of how tough the Filipinos are despite their size, for after that heart-pounding nipping of Gilas on Monday, the Argentine mentor said one thing that Katsikaris was spared from saying: “They made us look like fools.”

FROM PHILSTAR

Healing priest lauds Gilas SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 7, 2014 - 12:00am 1 5 googleplus0 0


Joaquin M. Henson

SEVILLE – All the way from Lucban came a text message from healing priest Fr. Joey Faller who is a basketball fanatic. Fr. Faller, 50, is an avid follower of the PBA and UAAP. Over at the Kamay Ni Hesus healing center in Lucban, there is a full-sized basketball court where Fr. Faller still finds time to burn the hoops.

Fr. Faller, like millions of Filipino fans, never imagined Gilas to push the world’s No. 3 team Argentina to the limit at the FIBA World Cup. The Philippines had a chance to win it in regulation with a triple or send it into overtime with a twinner but bungled the final play as Jayson Castro was called for a travelling violation and Gilas was forced to give up a foul with 6.6 seconds to go. Argentina held on to win, 85-81, and coach Julio Lamas must’ve prayed a million novenas to thank the Lord for the escape act.

That loss was one of three which could’ve gone the Philippines’ way in Group B action. The first was the 81-78 overtime loss to Croatia. The Philippines had a chance to seal it in regulation but Castro elected to pass off to Jeff Chan instead of take it strong to the hole. Chan was surprised to get the pass and threw up an off-balance shot that hit the side of the rim at the buzzer. The second was the Argentine squeaker and the third was the 77-73 setback to Puerto Rico. The Philippines’ average losing margin was only 5.6 points in five games and three were by four or below.

If the Philippines won any one of those three losses, it would’ve advanced to the round-of-16, leaving Puerto Rico and Senegal behind. That was how close Gilas was to moving forward. And to think that this was the Philippines’ first foray at the FIBA World Cup in 36 years. The win over Senegal was the Philippines’ first in FIBA World Cup history in 40 years or after the 87-86 victory over the Central African Republic on June 12, 1974, in Puerto Rico.

Without a doubt, the Philippines was the most successful Asian country at the FIBA World Cup this year. FIBA Asia champion Iran lost four games by an average margin of 19.3 points while South Korea couldn’t buy a win and was crushed by an average margin of 21.8 points. Iran beat Egypt, 88-73, but was walloped by Spain, 90-60, Brazil, 79-50, Serbia, 83-70 and France, 81-76. South Korea fell to Angola, 80-69, Australia, 89-55, Slovenia, 89-72, Lithuania, 79-49 and Mexico, 87-71.

In terms of ranking, Iran finished fifth in Group A with a 1-4 record, the Philippines sixth in Group B with 1-4 and South Korea sixth in Group D with 0-5. None of the Asian countries made it to the next round.

Here’s what Fr. Faller said in his text: “I still cannot get over the Gilas game against the No. 3 best basketball team in the world, Argentina. I have seen so many beautiful places in Boracay but I just cannot simply forget this super mega showcase of Filipino talent in basketball. What a game!

* “I think this was the best basketball game I have ever watched in my entire life. Gilas not only showed excellent shooting, suffocating defense, great passing ability, unpredictable offense and defense, fluid ball movement but mental toughness and sense of character and mission. No wonder the Argentine coach Lamas said we made them look like fools in the first quarter and mentioned that the game was the most uncomfortable in his whole life as a coach.

“Gilas led by as much as 10 points thrice in the first two quarters without Andray Blatche. Gilas massacred Argentina using an all-Filipino squad in these two quarters. Ranidel de Ocampo had a very solid game, an all-around game with accurate shooting prowess and moves which were very hard to defend. JuneMar Fajardo controlled the boards and surprised them with strong attacks under the goal. Paul Lee made a rare four-point play at crunch time. The Pinoy Sakuragi, Marc Pingris, made his presence felt with his great boxing-out skills and his stonewall defense and rebounds. Who can forget the heroism of the Mighty Mouse, Jimmy Alapag? He paraded his five servings of three-pointers at the most crucial time of the game in the last quarter. Who will forget the dunking artist Gabe Norwood, surprising even the veteran NBA player Luis Scola by dunking in his face, followed by another facial monstrous lefty dunk against the much taller Argentina players? Hail to you, the new LeBron of the Philippines.

“The brilliant coach Chot Reyes and his coaching staff brought out the best in Gilas and shocked the basketball world. What they lack in height, they redeemed with their tenacity, resiliency, dedication and Herculean spirit. Reyes can really say they cannot be taken for granted by the whole world. The three countries whom they fought truly received schooling from the Gilas team on the court.

“Andray played his heart out too. He played as if there was no tomorrow. Although he was stricken by a knee injury and he has a career to protect as an NBA player, he still played 100 percent every game. Thank you for your all-around game. Dribbling, passing, rebounding, penetrating inside and making crucial three-pointers and great performance in both offense and defense. You are a great inspiration to us and to the Gilas team. Regardless of the final record, Gilas is already a winner because you won the heart of the whole world. Gilas, you are really Pili na, Pino pa. Gilas never stops. Puso, puso, puso!”

The Gilas Pilipinas effect THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 6, 2014 - 12:00am 66 74 googleplus1 1


Bill Velasco

The last week has been an emotional rollercoaster for millions of Filipino basketball fans. In a span of six days, we felt hope, exasperation, doubt, despair, reluctance to hope again, then finally, joy and relief. The world’s basketball secret is out: the Philippines is for real.

No Hollywood scriptwriter could have dreamed of this ride for Gilas Pilipinas. From 2005, when the Philippines was suspended from international basketball and couldn’t even stage the event in its own hosting of the Southeast Asian Games to today, who would have imagined the turn-around?

“It has been quite a journey for Gilas, starting in Tokyo in August of 2006, through the twists and the turns of the SBP,” recalled Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas head Manny Pangilinan in a text message after Gilas Pilipinas lost to Croatia in overtime. “And now, here we are today – one of the best 24 basketball countries in the world. I’m mighty proud of this team and our coaches.”

The sport has always been a galvanizing force in the Philippines. Traffic stops, crime goes down, bars and coffee shops fill, even in the most ungodly hours due to time differences. We disagree on almost everything, even on whether or not we should love this mistress named basketball, who used to favor the taller, more athletic, non-Filipino player. But perhaps she’s looking our way now. The world’s sports media certainly has, we are no longer the big fish in a little pond of ASEAN. We are now the giant slayers from Asia: no seven-footers, no NBA players. Angola was very similar just over a decade ago, when they climbed to eleventh in the world. In 2019, Asia and Oceania will be merged, and our pond will get that much bigger, great times loom ahead.

After the loss to Puerto Rico, people criticized Gilas Pilipinas simply because they felt let down. They questioned Chot Reyes and his choice of players, his choice of system. But they placed those expectations upon themselves and the team. Those of us who know the game said one win was doable, two a long shot. Nobody gave the Philippines a chance. Famous sports websites didn’t even bother to get the team’s line-up, Gilas Pilipinas fought through line-up changes and injuries and long odds. They were always the underdogs, the shortest team in Spain. People felt disappointed and didn’t know how to handle it. Then they made their private embarrassment public. But who could have foreseen a career game from JJ Barea? As someone who knows a little about basketball, I have my disappointment, but no blaming. I have my sadness, but also gratitude. And I have no patience for fair weather fans who jump off the bandwagon more quickly than they jump on it.

What does it mean for Philippine basketball to literally be back in the spotlight? In 1999, Efren Reyes won the first World 9Ball tournament in Cardiff, Wales. It was an acknowledgment of his being the world’s best pool player. Billiards multiplied hundreds of percent in the country, and 15 years down the road, the sport has boomed. The country now hosts several international tournaments each year, and our players have conquered the sport in all its permutations. What Gilas has done is shown a bright spotlight on the sport’s international potential in our country. Aside from Japeth Aguilar and Gabe Norwood, none of our other players played in the NCAA tournament in the US. That will change, as scouts from major colleges and even European club teams will want players with the fighting heart of a Filipino. This will mean more of the next generation of players will benefit from the Gilas Pilipinas breakthrough, as this generation of Azkals hope they have done for their successors. In other words, things have changed in a big way. To paraphrase the late Steve Jobs, we have made a dent in the basketball universe.

* All that was necessary was for us to be part of the discussion, not be relegated to the kids’ table at the big basketball boys’ dinner. Our team has surpassed that, and then some. Pilipinas jerseys were among the hottest-selling items in Seville. In a span of six days, the biggest sports news agencies in Europe and the US acknowledge the Filipino fighting heart. But that has been our story from the time our first hero with nothing more than a wooden shield and home-forged sword repelled the first invader who tried to take what was ours, that story continued with American soldiers cowering in foxholes in World War II as lesser-armed Filipinos stood proudly above them with mortar shells raining around them. This is merely an affirmation of something we’ve known all along. And what coach, anywhere, would not want a Marc Pingris, who would run through a brick wall, or a Ranidel de Ocampo, who would challenge anyone whose Adam’s apple he was staring up at? Or a Gabe Norwood, whose highlight reel victims now include legitimate NBA veterans?

I remember interviewing a young Jimmy Alapag in 2002. He had come to Manila on his own, with nothing but a small bag and a dream: to play for the Philippine team. No family, no backer; just his raw desire and courage. His papers didn’t make it in time for the Asian Games that year. Then, in his first exhibition game in the PBA, he fractured his hand. But he never gave up. He is an example for all of us. Thanks, Jimmy.

The world order has changed, my friends. We are Filipinos. Basketball is in our blood. Underdog is our middle name. We fight to the end, and we’re used to long odds. We’re going to be here for a very long time, so get used to it. And guess what? This is just the beginning. I am proud to be a Filipino. Mabuhay, Gilas Pilipinas! At maraming salamat!

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

History Lesson: The Philippine team's record in the FIBA world tournament By MARISSE PANALIGAN
 

Before being rechristened the Basketball World Cup, international body FIBA's top competition was known as the World Championship.

On Saturday, the national team will return to the tournament for the first time in 36 years, when Gilas Pilipinas takes the court against Croatia.

Despite the prolonged absence, it's a tournament where the Philippines has a rich history, having competed in the tournament four times, and winning a medal once. Here's a look back at the Philippines' previous stints in the basketball world stage.

1954 FIBA World Championship

The national team posted its highest achievement in the tournament during the 1954 FIBA World Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The squad led by basketball legend Caloy Loyzaga bagged the bronze medal that year after winning six out of nine games.

The country defeated Paraguay, Israel, Formosa, Canada, France, and Uruguay, bowing only to eventual gold and silver medalists USA and Brazil.

Loyzaga led the team in scoring with 16.4 points per game, including a 31-point performance against Uruguay in the final round. Lauro "The Fox" Mumar also chipped in 9.9 points per game and a solid 24-point output against Canada.

Loyzaga, who was nicknamed "The Big Difference," ranked fourth among the top scorers of the tournament. He also landed a spot in the mythical five with USA's Kirby Minter, Uruguay's Oscar Moglia, and Brazil's Zenny de Azevedo and Wlamir Marques.

The bronze medal finish is the strongest performance by an Asian country in the tournament. With the feat, the team also booked a ticket to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, finishing seventh.

1959 FIBA World Championship

* In the 1959 FIBA World Championship held in Chile, the national team opened its campaign with a victory against Uruguay but dropped its next two games to Bulgaria and Puerto Rico.

The Philippines then swept its classification matches against United Arab Republic, Canada, and Uruguay to settle for eighth place.

Loreto Carbonell carried the Olympian-laden team with 15.3 points per game, good enough to rank eighth among the tournament's top scorers. Constancio Ortiz was also a solid contributor with 14.3 points per game, while Loyzaga and Carlos Badion added 11.5 and 11.2 points per game, respectively.

Despite the eighth-place finish, the Philippines was actually fifth in terms of scoring with 69.2 points per game, behind powerhouses Brazil, Soviet Union, Formosa, and USA.

1974 FIBA World Championship

The Philippines finished the group stage of the 1974 FIBA World Championship held in Puerto Rico without a single victory, yielding against USA, Argentina, and Spain.

The national team also dropped their classification matches against Mexico and Czechoslovakia, only avoiding a last place finish with a close 101-100 win against Australia and 87-76 against Central African Republic.

William "Bogs" Adornado, who would later become a superstar at Crispa in the PBA, led the squad with 18 points per game to place 10th among the tournament's top scorers. Basketball great Robert Jaworski also contributed 14.3 points per game.

Like in 1959, the Philippines was among the top scoring teams in the tournament. The squad was ranked fifth, scoring 92 points per game behind USA, Argentina, Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia.

1978 FIBA World Championship

The national team failed to win a single game in its last appearance in the FIBA World Championship in 1978, when the tournament was held in Manila. As the host, the Philippines entered the tournament in the semifinal round, but lost all its matches by huge margins.

In the battle for seventh place, the squad lost 74-92 to Australia to finish eighth.

MAN Diesel's Ramon Cruz led the team with 16.8 points per game, while Ateneo star Steve Watson and Crispa's Joy Carpio added 11.2 and 10.4 points per game, respectively.

In 1986, the Philippines qualified for the World Championship, but did not play because of political turmoil in the country. — JST, GMA News


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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