Gilas Pilipinas

Finally, a win! Filipinos online celebrate Gilas Pilipinas FIBA World Cup victory over China

Russell Ku

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Finally, a win! Filipinos online celebrate Gilas Pilipinas FIBA World Cup victory over China
Social media users praise the chemistry of the Gilas Pilipinas team after its runaway victory over Asian archrival China at the close of its FIBA World Cup campaign

MANILA, Philippines – If there’s one takeaway from the Gilas Pilipinas campaign in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, it would be that it’s not how you start that’s important, but how well you finish. 

After a string of heartbreaking losses for the Philippines, Filipinos online were finally overjoyed after Gilas Pilipinas ended its final classification phase game with flourish, outclassing Asian archrival China, 96-75, on Saturday, September 2.

Keywords related to the FIBA World Cup game dominated the top 10 trending Philippine topics on X.

Many social media users said that Gilas showed its best chemistry yet in its final game at the Araneta Coliseum.

As the game went on, Jordan Clarkson was the MVP for most fans. Clarkson topscored with 34, 24 coming from a third quarter eruption which shoved Gilas beyond reach.

Rhenz Abando was also praised for his performance and energy, echoing sentiments during the early Gilas FIBA World Cup run that he should have played more minutes on the floor in previous outings.

As one user said: “Regret is such a lonely word.”

Meanwhile, St. Dwight Ramos also got love online as he finally had his own FIBA World Cup victory on the day of his 25th birthday.

Other users also took the opportunity to use the game to say “Atin ang West Philippine Sea (The West Philippine Sea is ours).”

Days before the game, China introduced a new map that featured a 10-dash line that encompassed the entire South China Sea. That map was criticized by the Department of Foreign Affairs. 

However, questions remain for Gilas fans, especially on how the talented pool of players in this current Gilas team was wasted by head coach Chot Reyes and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. 

But for now, Filipino basketball fans are still heady over the victory. –

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Russell Ku

Russell Ku is a digital communications specialist at Rappler who believes in the power of stories to build an empathic society.