Despite facing a hostile crowd, Mongolia was able to dig deep, stunning Gilas Pilipinas 3×3, 21-17, Saturday evening at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The Philippines and Mongolia are now knotted at 1-1 in Pool C, together with Russia. Canada leads the pack with a 2-0 record, while Brazil is the group’s cellar-dweller with a 0-2 slate.
“We had our chances. It’s all about knowing how to win in the end, and I think malaki ‘yung experience factor ng team ng Mongolia. No excuses naman kami because I thought that we had chances to stay ahead, but a lot of factors. Team chemistry, missed decisions, defensive breakdowns sa coverage,” said coach Ronnie Magsanoc.
Behind the hot-shooting of Roger Pogoy, the Philippines was comfortably up 8-3 early on. However, the Mongolians were able to get the breaks of the game when it mattered.
The champions in the 2017 Asian Cup, Mongolia was in the midst of a 7-3 surge before Pogoy was called for a contentious unsportsmanlike foul against Tsenguunbayar Gotov. Gotov split his charities, then in the next possession, Delgernyam Daasarrbuu scored on a long two to give Mongolia the lead, 13-11, for the first time in the game with 3:54 left.
Though Stanley Pringle and Troy Rosario tried to rally Gilas back, the cagers from Mongolia had an answer. A three-point play by Tserenbaatar Enkhtaivan gave his team a 19-14 edge with 2:15 remaining. Baskets by Pringle and Standhardinger proved too late, as a long two-point bucket by Gotov sealed the win with 1:34 to spare.
“Eventually, when I looked at the score they were already at 19. One thing I learned from watching the elite teams, when they get at 19, they’ll take the two-point shot no matter what. So we’re still there, but they closed it out with the two-pointer. So we have to learn quickly and have to fast-track it so we’ll be ready for Monday again,” Magsanoc added.
The Philippines will have a one-day break before facing Canada on Monday, June 11, at 4:50pm. It will then take on Russia to cap the game day at 7:00pm.
MON 21 – Gotov 7, Enkhtaivan 6, Davaasambuu 6, Enkhbat 2.
PHI 17 — Pogoy 6, Pringle 4, Rosario 4, Standhardinger 3.