Gilas Pilipinas ends Olympic qualifiers bid

Gilas Pilipinas Men capped off their 2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament campaign with a 94-67 loss to the Dominican Republic Friday morning (PHT) in Belgrade, Serbia.

Coming off an impressive showing against world No. 5 Serbia that resulted in a close loss, the Philippines ran out of gas in the second half against the Dominican Republic.

Jordan Heading led the Philippines with 16 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the 3-point line. Ange Kouame posted 10 points and six rebounds, while Kai Sotto added eight points and four boards.

Gilas carried a two-point lead at the half but the Dominican Republic exploded for 55 points after the break and limited the Philippines to just 26.

“It was a very disappointing second half for us,” said Gilas coach Tab Baldwin. “We were outplayed, outcoached, and outgunned.”

The Dominican Republic capitalized on the Philippines’ 23 turnovers, converting them into 26 points.

Victor Liz top-scored with 23 points on 5-for-6 shooting from downtown. Gelvis Solano and Michael Torres Cuevas also torched Gilas as they combined for 41 points and 11 assists.

The Philippines (0-2) ended up at the bottom of Group A as Serbia (2-0) and the Dominican Republic (1-1) advanced to the semifinals.

It was a learning experience for the young Gilas team who now shifts its focus to the upcoming FIBA Asia Cup, which will begin on August 17 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

“We will now head home with lessons in our pocket,” said Baldwin. “These young men will work hard together. We’ll take this in the chin, learn from the lessons, and build for the future.”