MANILA – Gilas Pilipinas fell short against Palestine, with 73-75, on FIBA Asia Championship opener on Wednesday at the Changsha Social Work College’s Gymnasium.
The FIBA opening day was a shock to supporters who expected highly-touted Gilas, a silver medalist in 2013, to beat unranked Palestine.
The Philippines was on to a good start with double-digit leads but Palestine was able to take the upperhand with just two minutes left and sealed the game with a win.
Palestine got double-digit points from four of its seven players. Jamal Abu Shamala scored 26 points and 15 rebounds, Sani Sakakini had 22 points, Imad Qahwash had 17, and Salim Sakakini contributed 10.
Gilas, on the other hand, only had three of eight fielded players who scored double-digits. Andray Blatche registered 21 points and 12 rebounds, Terrence Romeo had 11 points, and Jayson Castro finished with 10.
“From a tactical standpoint you make moves, but sometimes they don’t work. That’s the truth. You can’t ignore the trend of the game either,” said Philippines national coach Tab Baldwin, who fielded Marc Pingris on the second half supposedly to get rebounds with Blatche.
“There were periods in the game were the effort was really good and there were periods were it wasn’t good enough. But I don’t think it was an effort issue. I really think defensively we’re not doing the right thing, possession after possession, no rebounding the ball and not hitting shots,” added the 57-year-old Baldwin.
Palestine 75 – Abu Shamala 26, Sakakini 22, Qahwash 17, Sakakini 10, Haroon 0, Khatib 0, Younis 0, Yaghmour 0, Salman 0, Odeh 0, Owda 0, Yousef 0.
Gilas 73 – Blatche 21, Romeo 11, William 10, De Ocampo 6, Intal 6, Abueva 5, Thoss 4, Norwood 3, Hontiveros 3, Pingris 2, Ganuelas 2, Taulava 0.
Quarterscores: 12-27, 40-45, 55-59, 75-73.