(UPDATED) Justin Brownlee knocked down successive treys down the stretch to tow Gilas Pilipinas to a thrilling 77-76 victory over China in the 19th Asian Games men’s basketball semifinal before a hostile crowd at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center on Wednesday.
It was a stunning comeback by the nationals, who trailed the host squad for most part of the game before their massive run in the payoff period.
Brownlee finished with 33 points, highlighted by seven triples to go with his five rebounds. Scottie Thompson added 13 markers and eight boards against the same Chinese squad they beat in the recent FIBA World Cup, though they were without naturalized player Li Kaier [Kyle Anderson].
After falling behind 15-6, the nationals mounted a 11-2 fight back capped by June Mar Fajardo's midrange jumper to tie the scores 17-all with 17 seconds to go in the first quarter.
But Zhao Jiwei made two free throws off Chris Ross' foul to push China ahead 19-17, going to the second period before the host team went on a 14-4 blitz that created a 36-21 gap in the second quarter.
A three-point play by Ross and a midrange jumper by Scottie Thompson forced China to readjust and take a 48-30 halftime advantage.
Following a floater by Hu Jinqiu, Justin Brownlee drilled a triple to keep the offense going for Gilas midway in the third canto. The nationals then traded shots with the Chinese to cut the deficit to 60-50.
The nationals picked up the pace in the pay off period, with Ange Kouame sinking a basket and Brownlee knocking down a couple of treys.
Kevin Alas' triple in the last 5:39 brought Gilas closer, 69-65, but back-to-back buckets by Du Runwang and Hu Jinqiu kept China ahead.
It was at this point Brownlee when produced the biggest shots, knocking down a huge three-pointer to make it a one-possession game, 76-74, with under a minute to go. The Philippines got a stop in China's next trip down, with Du Runwang misfiring on a triple of his own.
With Kouame providing a screen, Brownlee broke loose for another look at a three-pointer, and the much-loved Barangay Ginebra import drilled the go-ahead shot with just 24 seconds to play for a 77-76 count.
China still had a chance to break the Philippines' heart, but Zhang Zhenlin's last-gasp jump shot was off the mark, and Gilas controlled the rebound. An emotional Brownlee tossed the ball in the air at the final buzzer before he was mobbed by his teammates.
Fajardo and Perez each scored eight points while Alas chipped in five.
All-in-all, Gilas dominated the boards with 44 rebounds against China's 36. The nationals and the Chinese each had eight triples, but seven of those three point shots came from Brownlee.
Prior their match, the Philippines escaped a searing comeback by Iran to hack out a 84-83 thriller victory last Tuesday.
China was seeking vengeance after their 96-75 defeat to the Filipinos, in the classification round of the recent FIBA World Cup.
But it was not meant to be as the Philippines marches on to the Asiad men's basketball finals for the first time since 1990.
Gilas will figure in a rematch against the Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led Jordan for the gold on Friday.
PHILIPPINES 77 -- Brownlee 33, Thompson 13, Fajardo 8, Perez 8, Alas 5, Newsome 4, Oftana 4, Kouame 2, Ross 0, Lassiter 0, Aguilar 0.
China 76 – Zhao R. 18, Hu M. 10, Zhu 10, Wang 10, Zhao J. 9, Hu J. 8, Du 6, Zhang 4, Cui 1, Cheng 0.
Quarters: 17-19, 30-48, 50-62, 77-76.