- Dec 11, 2023
- Oct 6, 2023
After 61 years, Gilas Pilipinas achieved a historic milestone on Friday by securing its first gold medal in the Asian Games since 1962. The basketball-crazed nation erupted in joy as Gilas emerged victorious against Jordan, with a final score of 70-60. Justin Brownlee, an American-born player, played a pivotal role, contributing 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The game started with both teams showing early nerves, resulting in an error-riddled first quarter that the Philippines narrowly won 17-12. Despite Jordan rallying to level the score at 31-31 by halftime, the momentum shifted back to the Philippines in the third quarter, allowing them to enter the final stretch with a 51-41 lead. The team maintained their composure, securing a famous victory. Angelo Kouame contributed 14 points, while Chris Newsome added 13 for the Philippines. The victory marked a significant achievement for a team that had previously dominated the Asian Games, winning the title four consecutive times from 1951 to 1962 but had only made one final appearance since, in 1990.
The basketball landscape in Hangzhou saw a changing of the guard, with South Korea failing to advance to the knockout stage, and China settling for the bronze medal after defeating Taiwan 101-73. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a former Brooklyn Nets starter, led the scoring for Jordan with a game-high 24 points. The first quarter saw both teams struggling with their field goals, but a three-pointer from Brownlee just before the buzzer gave the Philippines a crucial edge heading into the second quarter. They capitalized on this advantage, ultimately stretching their lead to 13 points.
On the back of crucial three-pointers from Fadi Mustafa and Jefferson outside the arc played a pivotal role in bringing Jordan back into the game, leveling the score at halftime. Jefferson’s two-pointer soon after the restart gave Jordan its first lead, but the Philippines, led by Brownlee and Newsome, quickly regained control.
Heading into the final quarter with a 10-point buffer, the Philippines faced some tense moments but managed to hold on. China, still reeling from a buzzer-beating loss to the Philippines in the semi-finals, sought redemption against Taiwan in the third-place playoff. Despite Taiwan holding a 49-46 lead at halftime, China staged a dominant comeback in the third quarter with a 34-10 run, securing a victory. The young power forward, Cui Yongxi, led the way for the hosts with 20 points and five rebounds.