The Philippines advanced to the men’s basketball finals of the Asian Games for the first time in more than three decades after defeating the People’s Republic of China by a single point, 77-76, in a heart-stopping game on Wednesday, October 4, in Hangzhou.
Despite trailing for almost the entire game and being 20 points down in the third quarter, Justin Brownlee’s three-pointer with 24 seconds left on the clock turned the tables, giving the Gilas the lead for the first time and eventually clinching the victory.
In the final, the Philippines will face Jordan, who secured a 90-71 victory against Chinese Taipei in the other semi-final and had previously defeated the Gilas in the tournament with a score of 87-62. The final is scheduled at 8pm local time on Friday 6 October, while the bronze medal match between the People’s Republic of China and Chinese Taipei takes place at 4pm.
Brownlee led the way for the Gilas with an impressive 33 points, while Scottie Thomson added 13 points and three assists.
However, in the opening minutes of the first quarter, the Philippines struggled to find their rhythm, allowing the home favourites to take a 15-4 lead inr just four minutes.
Gradually, the Gilas gained momentum and scored 11 unanswered points to even the game at 15-15, with Scottie Thompson leading the charge, but they still ended the first quarter trailing 17-19.
The momentum shifted back in favour of the home team in the second quarter. Due to untimely fouls and turnovers, the Philippines allowed the hosts to seize control of the game.
Then, the Gilas struggled to find their groove and conceded ten points without reply, entering half-time with a 30-48 deficit.
The Filipinos came out strong in the third quarter, launching a spirited comeback and outscoring the People’s Republic of China 20-14.
In the final quarter, Gilas continued to cut into China’s lead. With 24 seconds left in the game, Justin Brownlee hit a three-pointer to complete the incredible comeback and help the Philippines win 77-76 and advance to the finals.
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