JAKARTA, Indonesia – Jordan Clarkson lived up to the billing but Gilas Pilipinas fell short to China in a heartbreaking 80-82 decision in the 2018 Asian Games men's basketball tournament at the GBK Basketball Hall in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday, August 21.
Clarkson delivered 28 points off 5 triples to go with 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals only to witness the Filipinos crumble down the stretch against a determined Chinese squad led by Zhou Qi.
The Filipinos were on their way to ending a 44-year Asian Games drought against China after leading 80-77 with 1:20 minutes left thanks to a Stanley Pringle bucket before China scored 5 straight points for the win.
With 12 seconds remaining, the Philippines had ample time to either equalize or take the upper hand but Paul Lee muffed his trey with 6 ticks remaining as China secured the rebound.
Despite the loss, Philippine team head coach Yeng Guiao was mighty proud of his wards.
"[W]e had a chance to win the game with the last shot but those are the breaks of the game. The effort is really good and I give credit to the boys. To me, this is like a won game," Guiao told reporters.
Zhou of the Houston Rockets dominated with a double-double of 25 points, 12 rebounds and 7 blocks while Wang Zhelin and Abudushalamu Abudurexiti chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Trailing by as much as 12 points in the first half, the Philippines slowly chiseled away at China's lead and ended the half down by just 5 following a Clarkson triple, 31-36.
The Filipino-American of the Cleveland Cavaliers continued to wax hot in the second half as he drilled in 3 straight triples to knot the score at 55-all late in the 3rd quarter.
China zoomed into a 74-66 advantage behind Abudurexiti but the Philippines unloaded an 8-0 spurt – sparked and capped by triples from Poy Erram and Lee, respective – to equalize.
Christian Standhardinger backstopped Clarkson with 18 points and 8 rebounds while Pringle added 14 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks.
The Philippines, thanks to their 37-point thrashing of Kazakhstan last August 16, are likely to advance to the quarterfinals with China.
China - Zhou 25, Wang 13, Abudurexiti 12, Zhao 11, Ding 7, Sun 6, Liu 5, Fang 2, Dong 1
Philippines - Clarkson 28, Standhardinger 18, Pringle 14, Lee 10, Erram 6, Almazan 2, Belga 2, Norwood 0, Ahanmisi 0, Yap 0, Taulava 0
Quarter scores: 20-12, 36-31, 59-57, 82-80
– with reports from Delfin Dioquino/Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.