After 61 years, Gilas Pilipinas captures elusive Asiad gold

By Elyrose Naorbe | Posted on October 21, 2023

Who says that basketball is a game for bigger and taller cagers?

Despite playing with a few big men and gunners, Gilas Pilipinas is back as king of Asian Games basketball after upsetting Jordan in the finals at Hangzhou, China.

After over six decades, the Philippines men’s basketball brought home the coveted title at the expense of the Jordanians, 70-60 at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium.

Leading the assault, Justin Brownlee erupted with double-double 20 points and 10 rebounds to go with five assists, two steals and a block.

PBA newcomer Angelo Kouame chipped in double-double 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Chris Newsome and Earl Scottie Thompson contributed 13 and 11 markers, respectively

To recall, it was Gilas Pilipinas’ first gold medal since 1962, the fourth gold in men’s basketball.

The Pinoy dribblers started hot in the opening quarter extending the lead to as much as eight points. The trio of Newsome, Thompson was effective inside the court until Jordan rode on the exploits of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson to force a 31-all deadlock at the half.

Both teams played hard defense, capitalizing on their big men to control the rebounds. Gilas Pilipinas regained its form in the third quarter courtesy of Brownlee and Newsome for a 51-41 lead.

Jordan attempted to make its last push in the fourth period but timely baskets from Kouame in the endgame sealed the win for the Philippines.

Despite playing like a well-oiled machine, Hollis-Jefferson tallied double-double 24 points and 12 rebounds for Jordan, not enough to carry his team to victory.

Fadi Mustafa chipped in 13 markers, while Ahmad Al Dwairi hauled 15 rebounds to go with eight points.

With the victory, the Philippines proved that basketball is for everybody and the spirit and genuine love for the sport really matter for a team who wants to become a champion and an inspiration.

-Photos grabbed online, credits to the rightful owners

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