FIBA World Cup

Clarkson misfires as Gilas Pilipinas bungles prime chance vs Angola

Delfin Dioquino

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Clarkson misfires as Gilas Pilipinas bungles prime chance vs Angola

TOUGH NIGHT/ Philippines' Jordan Clarkson in action with Angola's Eduardo Francisco.

Eloisa Lopez/REUTERS

Gilas Pilipinas wastes arguably its biggest chance to clinch a win in the group stage of the FIBA World Cup after a disappointing loss to Angola

MANILA, Philippines – Whether overseas or at home, Angola has Gilas Pilipinas’ number in the FIBA World Cup.

The Philippines wasted arguably its biggest chance to clinch a win in the group stage after a disappointing 80-70 loss to Angola before a stunned home crowd at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, August 27.

Jordan Clarkson scored 21 points but in an inefficient manner as the Angolans reasserted their mastery over the Filipinos, four years after they also beat Gilas Pilipinas in the previous World Cup edition in China.

The Utah Jazz star shot 7-of-22 from the field and scored just 4 points in the fourth quarter of the defeat that saw the Philippines fritter away an 11-point cushion in the first half.

Gilas Pilipinas seized its biggest lead at 28-17 off a Roger Pogoy bucket early in the second quarter before Angola closed out the opening half on the back of a sizzling 19-5 run led by Bruno Fernando for a 36-33 halftime edge.

Fernando of the Atlanta Hawks finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal as Angola improved to 1-1.

It was Gerson Goncalves, though, who proved to be the biggest thorn in the Philippines’ side, churning out 17 points and 6 rebounds with a string of key buckets in the final salvo.

The Filipinos trailed by just two possession early in the fourth quarter, 54-58, before Goncalves sank a pair of three-pointers that sparked a 16-3 run and opened the floodgates, 73-57.

An 11-0 run fueled by Clarkson and last-ditch replacement Rhenz Abando gave the Philippines hopes of a comeback, but Gerson Domingos sank a back-breaking triple to make it 76-68 and practically seal the win for Angola.

Domingos’ trey was the ninth for the Black Antelope, who shot a poor 29% from three-point land yet still managed to eclipse the Filipinos’ much terrible 18% clip (4-of-22).

“We still made it a game towards the end. We had a couple of three-point shots down the stretch. If we had made them, it could have been a completely different story,” said Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes.

“And in turn, [Angola] made their three-point shot.”

The loss dented the Filipinos’ bid of booking a ticket to the Paris Olympics as Japan became the first Asian squad to pull off a win, gutting out a 98-88 win over Finland in Group E in Okinawa on Sunday.

Only the highest-placed Asian team will advance to the Summer Games next year through the World Cup.

No other Philippines player scored in double figures, with AJ Edu putting a 9-point, 6-rebound line and Kai Sotto posting 8 points and 6 rebounds as he saw longer minutes after riding the bench in their loss to Dominican Republic.

CJ Perez, who sat out the entire game against the Dominicans, produced 7 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in nearly 12 minutes of play.

The only winless team in Group A with a 0-2 record, Gilas Pilipinas can still salvage a victory as it battles Italy on Tuesday, August 29, at the same venue.

The Scores

Angola 80 – Goncalves 17, Domingos 15, Fernando 14, Bango 10, De Sousa 10, Dundao 4, Kokila 4, Francisco 3, Paulo 2, Monteiro 1, Fernandez 0, Maconda 0.

Philippines 70 – Clarkson 21, Edu 9, Pogoy 8, Ramos 8, Sotto 8, Perez 7, Fajardo 4, Ravena 3, Abando 2, Aguilar 0, Malonzo 0, Thompson 0.

Quarters: 12-19, 36-33, 56-52, 80-70.


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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.