FIBA World Cup

‘Lot of love’: Towns all respect for Gilas Pilipinas after Dominican Republic win

Delfin Dioquino

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‘Lot of love’: Towns all respect for Gilas Pilipinas after Dominican Republic win

DRIVE. Karl-Anthony Towns in action for Dominican Republic against Gilas Pilipinas in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.


Nothing comes easy for Karl-Anthony Towns as Dominican Republic escapes Gilas Pilipinas for a promising start in the FIBA World Cup

MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas has earned Karl-Anthony Towns’ respect.

Towns said Filipinos play with a “lot of love” after powering Dominican Republic to a promising start in the FIBA World Cup, starring in an 87-81 win over the home team at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan on Friday, August 25.

“Everyone on their team is hardworking. They played really hard. That is the Filipino culture – hardworking people who do it with love,” Towns told reporters.

‘Lot of love’: Towns all respect for Gilas Pilipinas after Dominican Republic win

Towns finished with team-highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds, but nothing came easy for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ star big man.

Primarily defended by AJ Edu, with June Mar Fajardo and Japeth Aguilar also taking their turns, the seven-foot Towns shot a lowly 5-of-16 from the field and needed to earn his points at the free throw line, where he went 15-of-16.

No other Dominican player attempted more than four foul shots.

“They’re hardworking, they play fast, play with heart, and they do it with a lot of love. You can see the pride they have for their country and putting that jersey on,” Towns said of Gilas Pilipinas.

“I respect them tremendously,” he added. “Just a great team. We just found a way to stay disciplined, my teammates were amazing. I’m just so happy that we can get the first game in the World Cup out of the books with a W.”

One of the top players who are seeing action in the World Cup, Towns has been an instant fan favorite owing to his stature as a three-time NBA All-Star.

He got to witness the Filipinos’ fascination for hoops as a World Cup record crowd of 38,155 showed up at the Philippine Arena to watch the game.

“I’m grateful to have a chance to visit such a beautiful country, meet such amazing people who are so loving to the game of basketball, celebrating their country and their team as well so hard,” Towns said.

Towns and Dominican Republic can seize the lead in Group A and move on the cusp of the second round with a win over powerhouse Italy at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, August 27. –

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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.