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Gilas On The Brink of Elimination

August 27, 2023, Quezon City, Philippines: FIBA Mens Basketball World Cup 2023 match between Philippines and Angola at the Araneta Coliseum. Copyright: xLuisxVeniegrax / IMAGO

The Gilas Pilipinas’ dreams of advancing to the next round of the FIBA Wolrd Cup took a huge blow on Saturday as the team fell to Angola, 80-70. This was the team’s second defeat of the tournament after losing their opener against the Dominican Republic 87-81. Philippines currently sits at the bottom of Group A with 2 points behind Italy and Angola with 3 points and Dominican Republic with 4.

The good news for Gilas fans is that the team isn’t statistically eliminated from the tournament as of yet. They will however need a number of things to go their way. Firstly, they will need to beat Italy in their final match of the group stage on Tuesday. Secondly, they will require the Dominican Republic to beat Angola to set up a three-way tie for second place. 

In the case of a three-way tie, a quotient system will be used where the winning margin of games will determine who will advance to the next phase. This means that the Philippines will likely need to beat Italy handily to advance.

Philippines Vs Angola – Analysis

Jordan Clakson led the Philipinas in scoring with 21 points on 7-22 shooting, along with seven assists and three rebounds. Unfortunately he didn’t get much support on the offensive end, as no other Gilas player was able to reach double figures in points.

On the other side of the ball, Angolan star Gerson Gonçalves scored a team-high 17 points and was helped by Bruno Fernando and Gerson Domingos who added 14 and 15 respectively. Silvio de Sousa (10 points) and Jilson Bango (10 points) were also in double figures.

Philippines shot 42.9% from the field in comparison to Angola’s 37.5% but made 5 less three-pointers and committed four more turnovers, which was the difference in the game.

If GIlas is going to have any shot at beating a mighty Italian team tomorrow they will need to tighten up their ball handling and need to provide Clarkson with more help on the offensive side of the floor. Likely candidates to set their game up are Dwight Ramos and June Mar Fajardo who fared much better against Dominican Republic in the opener.

Game Summary

The game started off well for Gilas, outscoring Angola 19-12 in the first quarter as RR Pogoy and AJ Edu started off strong. Angola then responded with a 11-0 run which put them ahead and off the back of Bruno Fernando who used his size in the paint to get a few easy baskets.

Despite the big run, Gilas went into halftime down only three with the score at 36-33. The third quarter was fairly even as both teams jostled to gain control of the game. Everytime Gilas threatened to make a big run, Angola was able to reply with critical three-pointers, even though they didn’t shoot a particularly high percentage.

Gilas made a 11-3 run late in the final quarter but it wasn’t enough as Angola held on to take the game rather handily 80-70.

What’s Next For Gilas?

Gilas will face off against an Italian side which entered the tournament ranked 10th in the world. The encouraging news for the Pilipinas is that Italy just dropped a close game to the Dominican Republic 87-82, leaving the door open in Group A. To pull off the upset however the Philippines will need to really up their game and will likely need a huge performance from their ace in the hole, Jordan Clarkson.

Also on the line is an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics, although Gilas’ chances took a big hit after co-host Japan pulled off a stunning 98-88 against Finland earlier in the competition. Expect the team to leave their all on the court at they try and put on a show for the home fans even if they don’t make it to the next round.

The game against Italy will tip off at 8 pm PST on the 29th of August at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines.