Gilas Pilipinas leaves the Fiba World Cup with tragic loss against Italy

Aug 30, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines – Simone Fontecchio of Italy is obstructed by Gilas defenders during their Fiba World Cup match. Tuesday night, Ilas Pilipinas played its best, most coherent game of the 2023 Fiba World Cup, but it was insufficient to defeat an Italy team that had regained its lethal touch.

In Group A play at the international showcase at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, the host Philippines was defeated by the sweet-shooting Italians, 90-83, to finish without a victory.

Jordan Clarkson led the losing team with 23 points, Dwight Ramos finished with 14, and four other players scored at least eight points each. This resulted in the Gilas Pilipinas being sent to the crossover classification round.

The Philippines’ next opponent could be China or South Sudan, one of the bottom two teams from Group B.

Jordan Clarkson observed South Sudan’s style of play in a number of games and praised their physicality and athleticism. He also expressed his familiarity with China’s team, notably with the inclusion of Kyle Anderson, and the coaching contributions of individuals like Luol Deng and Wenyen Gabriel. Clarkson stressed the significance of unifying their team’s efforts while recognizing the power of South Sudan and China. He emphasized the well crafted lineups of the opposition, which were distinguished by their size. Despite these obstacles, Clarkson claimed that they were ready to compete fiercely and showed their commitment to winning on the court.

The only solace for Gilas right now is the fact that Japan, which defeated Finland last Sunday, fell to Australia in Okinawa by a score of 109-89 and will now also advance to the classification round, keeping the competition among Asian teams seeking for a spot in Paris alive.

However, there was nothing that could soothe the pain of defeat, especially when it occurred at home. After Colombia in 1982, Gilas became the first host nation to finish the World Cup’s preliminary rounds without a single victory.

Simone Fontecchio led Italy in scoring with 18 points, followed by Marco Spissu with 14, Giampaolo Ricci with 14, and Stefano Tonut with 13.

The Azzurri, who are currently rated 10th worldwide, showed a significant improvement in their three-point shooting, an area where they had previously struggled with a 20 percent success rate. This time, they were successful in 17 of their 41 efforts from beyond the arc, a remarkable 41% success rate.

Coming off the bench, Alessandro Pajola significantly contributed with 11 points, including a critical three-pointer that started an 8-0 scoring run.

Jordan Clarkson put out a commendable showing, recording seven rebounds and six assists, but Gilas was up against yet another valiant attempt that ultimately failed.

The Philippine team, on the other hand, found it difficult to establish their rhythm from a distance, only succeeding in 10 of 29 attempts from beyond the arc. Italy was able to earn a spirited victory thanks in large part to the difference in three-point shooting efficiency, which was a deciding factor in the game’s outcome.

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