By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
GILAS PILIPINAS’ woes in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup continued on Wednesday as it bowed to Angola, 84-81, in overtime in its final game in group play at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Arena in China.
Struggled anew with its offense, the Philippines made a strong late push in the contest but failed to complete it as Angola made the necessary plays in the end to hold on and take its first win in the ongoing tournament.
Angola had early control of the match before Paul Lee and Andray Blatche conspired to help Gilas to a strong finish in the first quarter and just be down by a point, 21-20.
Much like in the opening frame, Angola had a strong start in the second canto, outscoring the Philippines, 14-6, to take a 35-26 advantage midway on the lead of Yanick Moreira.
But Gilas started to find its mark anew with Robert Bolick waxing hot from behind the arc. When the opening half drew to a close, the Philippines was within striking distance of its opponent, 38-34.
In the third quarter Angola sprinted to a 46-36 lead by the 5:59 mark on the strength of steady sniping from the outside.
CJ Perez then started to make things happen for Gilas, helping his team to come within four points, 48-44 with 3:26 on the clock.
Angola, however, would survive the Gilas rally the rest of the frame, holding a 10-point lead, 56-46, heading into the last 10 minutes.
Sensing that the game was slipping from its hands, the Philippines played with a sense of urgency on both ends of the court at the start of the fourth.
Gilas outscored the Angolans, 16-7, to narrow the gap to just a point, 63-62, by the halfway point.
Jaques Conceiao stopped the bleeding for Angola team with a long two to make it 65-62 after a minute.
But a 7-0 run by the Filipinos after handed them a 69-65 lead by the 3:18 mark.
It was a tied count at 60-all as the match entered the last two minutes before Carlos Morais handed Angola a three-point lead off an and-one play with 52 seconds remaining.
Mr. Perez pulled Gilas back in the game, 73-all, with a triple 20 seconds later.
The teams had chances to win the game but they were not able to take advantage of them, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra period Gilas had early traction, building a 76-73 lead in the first minute.
But Angola answered back strong with a 7-0 run to overtake the Philippines, 80-76, at the 2:29 mark.
Two free throws by Mr. Blatche pushed Gilas to within two, 80-78, after but a tip-in by Mr. Moreira with 1:07 to go gave Angola more breathing space, 82-78.
A free throw made by Gerson Domingos with 31 seconds left made it 83-78 for Angola.
The Philippines sued for time after to set up a play and answered with a three-pointer from Roger Pogoy with 25 seconds remaining to make it 83-81.
Gilas was forced to foul to get back the ball.
Mr. Morais just made one of two free throws with seven seconds to go to open the door for the Philippines but Kiefer Ravena’s three-point heave as time expired failed to hit the mark, sending Gilas to the defeat.
Valdelicio Joaquim led Angola with 20 points with Messrs. Moreira and Reggie Moore adding 12 apiece.
Mr. Morais had 11 for Angola which goes into the classification phase with a 1-2 card.
The Philippines (0-3) was paced by the 23 points of Mr. Blatche with Mr. Perez adding 17.
As a team, Gilas Pilipinas just shot 22% from beyond the arc, going 10-of-46.
Gilas plays in the classification phase beginning on Friday.