FIBA OQT

Gilas Pilipinas ends Olympic bid as Dominican Republic cruises

Delfin Dioquino
Gilas Pilipinas ends Olympic bid as Dominican Republic cruises

STIFLED. Angelo Kouame and Gilas Pilipinas struggle in the second half against a physical Dominican Republic side.

FIBA

The all-cadet Gilas Pilipinas' inexperience shows in a 27-point loss to Dominican Republic in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament

An error-plagued Gilas Pilipinas bowed out of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Serbia after absorbing a 67-94 blowout loss to Dominican Republic on Thursday, July 1 (Friday, July 2, Manila time).

Dominican Republic exposed the Philippines’ inexperience after forcing the Filipinos to commit a whopping 23 turnovers to pull away in the last two quarters and clinch the last semifinals berth up for grabs in Group A.

The all-cadet Filipino crew wrapped up its OQT campaign at the bottom of Group A with a 0-2 record, while Serbia (2-0) and Dominican Republic (1-1) advanced to the knockout semifinals.

Jordan Heading led the Philippines with 16 points and 3 assists but lacked help offensively as they struggled to get their attack going in the second half – committing more turnovers (23) than assists (21).

Gilas Pilipinas still led early in the third quarter, 45-41, until Dominican Republic unloaded a momentum-changing 24-6 run behind Gelvis Solano for a 65-51 advantage going into the final salvo.

Solano kept his foot on the pedal and scored another 7 points to start the fourth period before Victor Liz drained a booming triple as the Dominicans opened the floodgates with a 77-53 lead.

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Liz torched the Filipinos with 23 points on a 5-of-6 clip from three-point range, while Solano delivered 21 points, 5 assists, and 3 steals.

Michael Torres Cuevas chimed in 20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals in the win, while Angel Thomas Nunez Castillo added 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

Unlike its narrow 76-83 loss to Serbia the day prior where four players scored in double figures, the Philippines only had two against the physical Dominican Republic side.

Naturalized player Angelo Kouame was the only other Filipino player in twin digits with 10 points and 6 rebounds.

Kai Sotto put up 8 points and 4 rebounds in the losing effort, while SJ Belangel contributed 6 points, 10 assists, and 4 rebounds.

Joining Serbia and Dominican Republic in the semifinals are Italy and Puerto Rico as the four remaining teams vie for the lone Olympic berth up for grabs in this OQT leg.

Up next for Gilas Pilipinas is the FIBA Asia Cup, which will be staged in Indonesia in August.

The Scores

Dominican Republic 94 – Liz 23, Solano 21, Torres Cuevas 20, Nunez Castillo 13, Francis Ramirez 5, Rojas 4, Araujo 4, Santos 2, Mendoza 2, Henriquez 0, Feliz Sarita 0, Martinez 0.

Philippines 67 – Heading 16, Kouame 10, Sotto 8, Navarro 6, Belangel 6, Abarrientos 6, Baltazar 5, Tamayo 5, Nieto 4, Go 1, Chiu 0.

Quarters: 23-22, 39-41, 65-51, 94-67.

– Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.