FIBA OQT

Brazil puts shackles on Brownlee as Gilas Pilipinas ends Olympic bid

Delfin Dioquino

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Brazil puts shackles on Brownlee as Gilas Pilipinas ends Olympic bid

EXIT. Justin Brownlee in action for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

FIBA

A Gilas Pilipinas side missing injured big man Kai Sotto crashes out of the semifinals of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament as Brazil keeps its own Paris Games hopes alive

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas reached the end of the road of its Paris Olympics bid.

A poor third quarter doomed the Philippines as it crashed out of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga, Latvia, after a 71-60 loss to world No. 12 Brazil in the semifinals on Saturday, July 6.

Ending the group stage as the highest scoring team with an average of 91.5 points, the Philippines got limited to just 6 points in the third period as it bid goodbye to its lofty goal of reaching the Olympics for the first time since 1972.

“It’s funny, we didn’t expect to be here but then when we got here, we expected to win. So it’s very painful that we didn’t,” said Philippine head coach Tim Cone.

“But there’s a reason Brazil is the 12th-ranked team in the world and they proved it tonight.”

Former NBA players Bruno Caboclo and Marcelo Huertas proved to be a thorn in the side of a Philippine squad that badly missed the services of injured big man Kai Sotto, helping Brazil advance to the finale.

Caboclo capitalized on the absence of Sotto and finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while Huertas fired 13 points, 9 coming in the fourth quarter, on top of 7 assists.

Justin Brownlee bled for his production as the Brazil defense held him to just 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists – numbers that are well below his averages of 27 points, 8.5. rebounds, and 8.5 assists in the group stage.

Scattering 12 points in the first half as the Philippines grabbed a 33-27 lead, Brownlee scored only 3 more points the rest of the way as Brazil flipped the script thanks to a 24-6 blast in the third period.

Brazil held the Philippines scoreless in the first six minutes of the third quarter and went on a 14-0 rally en route to mounting a 51-39 advantage going into the final salvo.

Dwight Ramos put up 13 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals, while June Mar Fajardo posted a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double in the loss as Brazil improved to 5-0 against the Philippines in their all-time head-to-head duels.

CJ Perez added 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals for the Philippines.

A Ramos triple and a Perez layup to the start of the fourth quarter brought the Filipinos within 44-51 before Huertas took over, dropping 7 points in 14-5 run that pushed the Brazilians’ lead to 65-49.

“It just takes one night you don’t show up and play your best and you lose. That’s how good the teams are here. Today, we just didn’t play our best and Brazil beat us,” said Ramos.

Still, it was a memorable campaign for Gilas Pilipinas as it beat a European team for the first time in 62 years when it pulled off a giant 89-80 upset of world No. 6 Latvia in the group stage.

The Philippines then fought back from a 20-point deficit and lost by only one possession to world No. 23 Georgia, 96-94, to book its spot in the final four.

“Now we know we can compete,” said Cone.

Lucas Dias chimed in 10 points and 9 rebounds for Brazil, which will face Latvia with an Olympic berth at stake after the host nailed a 72-59 win over Cameroon in the other semifinal pairing.

The Scores

Brazil 71 – Caboclo 15, Huertas 13, Dias 10, Y. Santos 8, De Paula 8, Meindl 7, Louzada 3, G. Santos 3, Felicio 2, Benite 2.

Philippines 60 – Brownlee 15, Ramos 13, Fajardo 10, Perez 10, Newsome 5, Aguilar 4, Tamayo 3, Oftana 0, Quiambao 0.

Quarters: 12-22, 27-33, 51-39, 71-60.

– 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.