Gilas Pilipinas may not have accomplished its goal in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but it will not be returning home empty-handed.
Jordan Heading said the young Filipino squad gained valuable lessons even after they concluded their OQT stint without a win following a 67-94 beating from Dominican Republic.
“Obviously our goal was to win games. But all in all, we wanted to compete and show that we belong in the world stage,” said Heading.
“None of us have experienced this high level of basketball yet, so obviously we’re going to take a lot of lessons with us.”
It was a roller-coaster campaign for the Philippines, which earned an OQT berth after New Zealand pulled out due to coronavirus concerns.
Despite falling prey to Serbia in its OQT opener, Gilas Pilipinas still held its head up high as it pushed the world No. 5 team to the limit and almost pulled off a massive upset.
The Filipinos, though, failed to weave the same magic against the Dominicans, who won convincingly with a stellar second-half showing.
“We just wanted to come out and test ourselves,” Heading said. “[W]e had some success against Serbia, but not the same tonight.”
Heading proved to be a bright spot in the losses as he stepped up in the absence of Dwight Ramos by leading the Filipinos in scoring.
The Filipino-Australian averaged a team-high 14.5 points on a healthy 63% shooting from the field to go with 3 assists.
In the two games against Serbia and Dominican Republic, Heading flaunted his consistent outside shooting by knocking down 8 of his 11 three-point attempts for a scintillating 73% clip.
“[W]e still tried to fight you know and that is one thing about Filipinos is they’re not going to be scared going up against anybody and we’ll play ball against anyone,” Heading said. – Rappler.com