Gilas not settling for ‘moral victories’

Posted by watchmen
August 28, 2023
Posted in SPORTS


Gilas Pilipinas during their game against the Dominican Republic in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. (Jonathan Cellona / ABS-CBN News photo)
Gilas Pilipinas during their game against the Dominican Republic in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. (Jonathan Cellona / ABS-CBN News photo)

Not wanting to settle for another “moral victory,” Gilas Pilipinas captain Japeth Aguilar believes the nationals will get better after their 87-81 defeat to the Dominican Republic in their FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 debut last Friday, August 25.

“Breaks of the game. We [don’t] want to say another moral victory, because we already have a lot of those,” Aguilar said.

Gilas hung tough against the 23rd-ranked country in the world, even leading by as much as four, 59-55, late in the third quarter.

However, the Philippines committed 19 turnovers and allowed 17 offensive rebounds and 15 second-chance points, failing to close the game strong.

Jordan Clarkson led head coach Chot Reyes’ troops with 28 points, but only shot 9-of-24 from the floor and fouled out late in the payoff period.

“We’re only going to get better from this game. I’m happy [for] my teammates. Looking forward to the next game,” Aguilar added.

Aguilar’s fellow three-time World Cup veteran June Mar Fajardo added that Gilas played a fair game in general, but had a few lapses towards the end of regulation which spelled the difference in a bittersweet result in front of a record Philippine Arena crowd of 38,115.

“Maganda naman ang laro ng team, may mga lapses lang talaga. So kailangan naming i-correct ‘yun. Bounce back tayo next game,” Fajardo, who scored 16 points on a perfect 5-of-5 clip, said.

Fajardo was among the Philippines’ bigs who took turns in trying to contain Dominican star Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds.

The San Miguel big man mentioned that the squad was focused on their own game plan, and not whether it could match up well with their NBA-level counterparts.

“Hindi ako nakikipagsukatan kay Karl o sa ibang players. Gusto ko lang makatulong sa team. Kung ano ipapagawa ni coach sa akin, gagawin ko,” the six-time PBA MVP shared.

With a quick turnaround before their face-off against Angola, the Gilas veterans remain positive that they can get a more favorable outcome as long as they forget what happened on Friday and turn their attention to the African powerhouse team.

“Kailangan naming mag-move on. Basta maglaro lang kami as a team. Ilabas lang namin ang game plan,” Fajardo said. (ABS-CBN News)

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