Gilas falls to Dominican Republic, as Tokyo Olympics dreams end


Posted at Jul 02 2021 04:24 AM | Updated as of Jul 02 2021 09:50 AM

Gilas falls to Dominican Republic, as Tokyo Olympics dreams end 1
Ange Kouame and Gilas Pilipinas had no answer when Dominican Republic went on a run in the second half on Thursday. Courtesy of FIBA

The Philippines men's national basketball team lost 94-67 to the Dominican Republic at the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament on Thursday, a decisive loss that dashed the Filipinos' Tokyo Olympics dreams. 

It was close until midway through the third quarter when Dominican Republic went on a 12-0 blitz to go up 65-51 heading into the fourth.

Then a 12-2 run to start the final quarter to make it 77-53 effectively put the game away in favor of the Caribbean nation. 

Jordan Heading scored 16 points to lead Gilas, which was playing for a second consecutive day after a gallant stand against Serbia. 

"We didn't stand up to the pressure. It was a very disappointing second half for us," Gilas head coach Tab Baldwin said.

"There are no excuses. We were outplayed, outcoached and outgunned.

"We have many things to learn from this."

The Philippines, a team composed of amateur standouts, gave powerhouse Serbia a huge scare in their game on Thursday before falling short, 83-76. 

Gilas' effort against Serbia was widely praised by Filipinos who watched the contest in the early hours of the morning, but the loss had meant that the team needed to beat Dominican Republic.

Baldwin and co. couldn't duplicate the effort and execution they showed 24 hours prior as they fell behind by as many as 27 points in the fourth. 

Dominican Republic outscored Gilas 26-7 in points off turnovers and in the fast-break (23-6). 

After just 15 turnovers against Serbia, Gilas was sloppier in their possession this time with 23. 

"The Dominicans such a tough team I don't think we kept the ball in front like we needed to," Heading said.

"They were able to get in the paint, and finish with ease, or kick out and just hit open 3s. Their hitting percentage was off the charts."

Ange Kouame added 10 points and 6 rebounds, while Kai Sotto chipped in 8 points and 4 rebounds. 

Victor Liz, Dominican Republic’s 35-year-old shooting guard, led all scorers with 23 points, including 5 3-pointers. 

Point-guard Gelvis Solano added 21, while Michael Cuevas contributed 20.