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Tiebreaker Times

2024 Summer Olympics

10-man Gilas Men fall to Brazil, ends Paris bid

Gilas Pilipinas stumbled into a harrowing dry spell which doomed the program’s aspirations of breaking the country’s Olympic basketball absence.

The short-handed unit bid goodbye to its hopes of flying to Paris later this month after falling to world no. 12 Brazil, 71-60, in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2024 semifinals at the Arena Riga in Latvia, Saturday night.

Coach Tim Cone only had 10 healthy players at his disposal with Kai Sotto out due to a rib injury.

Having a shortened rotation would become a major issue as the squad lost the 33-27 halftime lead – and their dreams as well.

2024-FIBA-OQT-Gilas-vs-Brazil-Tim-Cone 10-man Gilas Men fall to Brazil, ends Paris bid 2024 Summer Olympics Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news


“Losing Kai was big for us,” he lamented. “It just took away our depth on the frontline and forced June Mar Fajardo to have to overplay minutes. But the bottom line is, we just weren’t good enough tonight. We gotta be better.”

Left with limited pieces to move, Gilas couldn’t fully function the way it did against Latvia and Georgia, and their South American counterparts would exploit as much by locking them down defensively during the third quarter.

By precisely anticipating the Filipino dribblers’ offensive sets, Brazil converted those stops into opportunities.

It went on a 14-0 run to take the 41-33 lead with 4:53 to go in the frame, and would stay ahead the rest of the way.

They entered the final period owning a 51-39 advantage as the charges of Coach Aleksandar Petrovic held Gilas to a measly six points in the third.

2024-FIBA-OQT-Gilas-vs-Brazil-June-Mar-Fajardo 10-man Gilas Men fall to Brazil, ends Paris bid 2024 Summer Olympics Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news


“They played us with a real physical brand of basketball,” offered Cone when asked about the turnaround that the Brazilians pulled off.

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“To be honest, we were making tough shots in the first half and they were missing a lot of open shots. We knew that if we didn’t turn that around, it was gonna get difficult for us in the second half,” he added.

Justin Brownlee led the Philippines with 15 points and eight rebounds as the naturalized winger was the opposing team’s focal point defensively.

Dwight Ramos nailed three triples and finished with 13 points, including eight in the first quarter alone to lead his side to a 22-12 edge.

June Mar Fajardo made 10 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes of play as he had to fill in the gap left by Sotto. CJ Perez also had 10 points.

2024-FIBA-OQT-Gilas-vs-Brazil-Bruno-Caboclo-vs-June-Mar-Fajardo 10-man Gilas Men fall to Brazil, ends Paris bid 2024 Summer Olympics Basketball Gilas Pilipinas News  - philippine sports news


“The Philippines scoring 60 points, in my opinion, was that we did a huge job,” said Petrovic proudly of his wards’ efforts on defense, as they held a team that scored an average of 91.5 points in its first two outings.

While the quartet carried much of the load for Gilas, all 10 players of Brazil scored at least two points in the win that moved the program closer to Paris.

Bruno Caboclo led the way with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Another former NBA player Marcelinho Huertas had 13 points and seven assists as the veteran guard helped close the game out strongly through his sweet shooting.

Lucas Dias chipped in 10 points for the Brazilians, who will face the winner between Latvia and Montenegro for its opponent in the Final on Sunday.

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“Right now, we have to forget everything about this game,” said Petrovic. “We will see. We are just 40 minutes away from Paris. That’s our primary goal.”

The Scores:

Philippines 60 – Brownlee 15, Ramos 13, Fajardo 10, Perez 10, Newsome 5, Aguilar 4, Tamayo 3, Quiambao 0, Oftana 0.

Brazil 71 – Caboclo 15, Huertas 13, Dias 10, de Paula 8, Santos Y. 8, Meindl 7, Louzada 3, Santos G. 3, Benite 2, Felicio 2.

Quarterscores: 22-12, 33-27, 39-51, 60-71.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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