FIBA 2023 Jordan is handcuffed by Gilas, ending a 61-year Asian Games basketball gold drought

Oct 7, 2023

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Gilas Pilipinas athletes take a moment to themselves after winning gold at the 19th Asian Games. In the Asian Games final against Jordan, Gilas Pilipinas’ defense proved to be their strongest suit, helping them to finally end their long title drought.

MANILA, Philippines –With a gold medal from the Asian Games in Hangzhou, the Philippines is currently the finest basketball team in Asia after more than 60 years. 

At the HOC Gymnasium in Hangzhou, China, on Friday night, Gilas Pilipinas maintained just enough distance from a troublesome Jordan team to win the gold medal, 70-60.

After John Bohannon made a free throw to start the fourth quarter with his team trailing by 10 points, 41-51, Jordan trimmed the deficit to six points, 50-56.

However, the Filipinos fought back, and with 4:53 left, a tremendous putback by Scottie Thompson off his own corner three-point miss and back-to-back baskets by Ange Kouame gave them a double-digit advantage once more.

Less than two minutes remained, and the Nationals were still within reach at 62-55, but Kouame tipped in a missed shot by Chris Newsome with 1:45 remaining to grab a 64-55 lead. 

On the opposite end, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was fouled, but as tiredness set in, he missed both of his free shots.

With 55.4 seconds left, two touchdowns by Thompson gave Gilas another double-digit lead, 66-55. 

With 48 seconds left, Hollis-Jefferson made a 3-pointer over Chris Newsome to keep Jordan’s hopes alive.

In the end, the Jordanians delivered the Filipinos their only loss of the competition—an 87-62 defeat—but it was too late for them. 

A pair of free throws from Kouame sealed the victory, 68-59, guaranteeing Gilas exact revenge. 

Justin Brownlee, who is currently the most popular basketball player in the Philippines, scored a total of 20 points. 

With 14 points, 11 rebounds, five thefts, two blocks, and other impressive stats, Kouame left his best performance for last. 

As usual, Hollis-Jefferson led Jordan in scoring with 24 points.

Gilas let Jordan equalize the game at the end of the second quarter, blowing a second-quarter advantage of 13 points (28-15). 

Since beating Japan in 1962 under the legendary captaincy of Carlos Loyzaga, the Philippines hasn’t won a gold medal. 

Jordan’s runner-up finish in the Asiad basketball competition represents the nation’s first podium placement. 

In the competition, it is the Philippines’ fourth gold medal. 

With four gold medals, two silver medals, and twelve bronze medals, the nation is presently ranked 18th overall. 

Scores at the end of the match

  • Gilas Pilipinas with 70 points for the win
    Individual scores: Brownlee 20, Kouame 14, Newsome 13, Thompson 11, Oftana 5, Aguilas 3, Perez 2, Alas 2, Fajardo 0, Tolentino 0, Ross 0, Lassiter 0.
  • Jordan with 60 points
    Individual scores: Holils-Jefferson 24, Mustafa 13, Al Dwairi 8, Alhamarsheh 6, Bohannon 4, Bzai 3, Hussein 2, Qarmash 0, Alhendi 0, Alhammouri 0, Abbaas 0.

Scores per quarter:

17-12, 31-31, 51-41, 70-60.

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