It a very crucial game for Gilas Pilipinas as it goes against Hong Kong today (Sept 24) at the 2015 FIBA Asia Tournament.
Gilas lost yesterday to Palestine, 75-73, in their opening match after a heart-stopping last two minutes of the game at the Changsha Social Work College Gymnasium in China.
The Philippines had a good start with a 15-point first half lead. Andray Blatche scored 14 points and 8 rebounds after 20 minutes, Rappler reported.
However, the Palestine team was able to stop Blatche. He was forced out of the paint and to hit 3s, of which he just had one success of the seven attempts. From then on, the Palestine began a 10-to-nothing run.
Jamal Abu Shamala led the Palestines second half comeback and threw a 3 that gave Palestine the lead, 72-71, at 1:35 remaining in the game. It was the team’s first lead against Gilas since the opening buzzer.
At the end, the Palestines dominated the court. Shamala scored 26 points and 15 rebounds, while Sani Sakakini contributed 22 points and 14 rebounds.
Blatche had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Gilas. Terrence Romeo had 11 points and Jayson Castro had 10 points.
Today, the Philippine team will have another shot as it will play against Hong Kong, a team they beat at FIBA Asia 2013, Rappler noted.
FIBA.com reported that Hong Kong beat Kuwait, 87-50, in its opening match. Five of its players scored in double-figures, led by Lee Ki with 15 points.
Kuwait had a fast start in the game but Hong Kong took the lead entering the halftime break, fiba.com noted.
The gold medal winner at the 2015 FIBA Asian Championship will be the representative of Asia in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics next year.
Gilas Pilipinas has not been to the Olympics since 1972 in Munich and it has been nearly 30 years since it dominated the Asian championship.
Watch live stream of Gilas Pilipinas – Hong Kong game here at 9:30 am (PH time).