The Smart Gilas Philippines men’s basketball team almost upset Croatia in the opening FIBA World Cup game, falling just short in overtime.
The final score of the game, which went into overtime, was 81-78.
Andray Blatche led Gilas with 28 points and 12 rebounds.
Jeff Chan chipped in 17 points, Marc Pingris had 10, and Jayson Castro had 6 but missed the shot that could have won the game with only seconds left in regulation.
Blatche hit a shot and then Chan answered Croatia to tie the game right before Castro’s shot.
Bojan Bogdanovic had 26 points for Croatia, including a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left in overtime to snap a tie and put the team on its way to victory.
Check out highlights below.
————–Original story below.
The Philippines will take on Croatia in the opening game of the 2014 FIBA World Cup on Saturday.
The basketball game is set to tipoff at 6:30 p.m. PHT (12:30 p.m. GMT) in Sevilla, Spain.
The game will be broadcast on TV 5 in the Philippines and ESPN in the United States.
Live streaming will be available via Solar Sports, LiveBasketball.TV, and Watch ESPN.
Smart Gilas and new addition Andray Blatche will have their hands full with recent NBA draftee Dario Saric, as well as European stars Mario Hezonja and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Blatche, who played with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets last season and is currently a free agent, will see 7’1″ Ante Tomic for much of the game down low.
Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes told ABS-CBN that it will be tough with Croatia’s height advantage. “Their frontline is 7’2″, 6’10” and whatever we do, we can’t match with their height,” he said. But Gilas player Jeffrei Chan, also of Rain or Shine, said that he believes they can win at least two games in the preliminaries.
And the Philippine Star reported that guard Jayson Castro, whom Reyes has referred to as the team’s top “breakdown player,” has been cleared to play against Croatia. Castro sat out the last three exhibition games while recovering from an Achilles injury. Castro, Paul Lee, and Kimmy Alapag will look to penetrate and create offense against the taller Croatians.
Smart Gilas is in Group B along with Argentina, Croatia, Greece, Puerto Rico, and Senegal. It will play every team in the group once during pool play. The top four teams after that advance to the knockout rounds.
The Philippines will play Greece on Sunday (early Monday Philippines time), Argentina on Monday, Puerto Rico on Wednesday, and Senegal on Thursday. Friday is designated a rest day before knockout play starts next Saturday, September 6.
Gilas will be competing in the world championships for the first time in 36 years, having lost competed at the 1978 FIBA competition.
See their full roster below.
1. Jimmy Alapag (#4)
2. LA Tenorio (#5)
3. Jeff Chan (#6)
4. Jayson William/Castro (#7)
5. Gary David (#8)
6. Ranidel De Ocampo (#9)
7. Gabe Norwood (#10)
8. Andray Blatche (#11)
9. June Mar Fajardo (#12)
10. Paul Dalistan/Lee (#13)
11. Japeth Aguilar (#14)
12. Marc Pingris (#15)
Head Coach: Chot Reyes