BOCAUE, Bulacan -- (UPDATED) Though already out of the running for a spot in the quarterfinals, the Philippine men's team still made sure to end their campaign in the 2018 FIBA 3x3 Basketball World Cup on a winning note on Monday at the Philippine Arena.
Cheered on by a boisterous crowd, the 19th-seeded Philippine team dominated Russia – the third-seeded squad in the event – with a score of 19-12.
Troy Rosario played his best game of the tournament, waxing hot from beyond the arc to finish with eight points. Stanley Pringle, who took the blame for their close loss to Canada earlier in the afternoon, led the team with nine markers.
With the result, the Philippines finished with a 2-2 win-loss record in Pool C – incidentally, the same record that they had in the previous two editions of the World Cup. The home team finished third in their pool.
"For me, it's a little bitter," admitted Christian Standhardinger. "I'm happy that we won two games, but we should have won against Canada, and we should have won against Mongolia. I honestly felt that we were better, and it's just the lack of experience."
"Sayang lang talaga 'yung Canada," Roger Pogoy also said, referring to their heartbreaking 20-19 setback. "Para sa atin na sana, parang kinuha lang nila sa atin. Dapat matuto tayo sa experience na 'yun."
The Filipinos seized control right from the star, with Rosario and Pringle each drilling a jumper, and Pringle adding a lay-up for a 5-1 lead that had the Philippine Arena rocking. Back-to-back buckets from Victor Pavlenko made it a two-point game, 5-3, but it was the last time that the game would be close.
The Philippines scored nine unanswered points, highlighted by three consecutive two-pointers by Rosario, to completely break the game open, 14-3. They led by as much as 12 points, 17-5, off another superb bucket by Pringle who proved unstoppable all throughout the contest.
A Pringle jumper put the Philippines on the brink, 19-8, but Russia ended the game on a 4-0 run and denied the Philippines a game-winner in the final minute. Their rally was too little, too late, however, and the Filipinos in the venue wildly celebrated the triumph of the men's team.
"This was important for all of us," Standhardinger said. "I think we showed everyone that we can compete in this stage."
"We just need a little bit of experience," he added. "We won two games, and the other two were close. I think we have a good shot next time if we stick together."
The Philippines opened their campaign with a 15-7 triumph over Brazil, before losing heartbreakers to Mongolia (21-17) and Canada (20-19). The loss to Canada was particularly costly, as it took them out of the running for the quarterfinals.
Pavlenko led the Russians with six points. The No. 3 seed managed only one victory throughout the group stage – a 20-16 result over Brazil.
PHILIPPINES 19 — Pringle 9, Rosario 8, Pogoy 2, Standhardinger 0.
RUSSIA 12 — Pavlenko 6, Korshakov 4, Dybovskii 1, Alexandrov 1.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.