Gilas drops 4th-straight match against South Sudan

Gilas loses again (FIBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team is currently in a downward spiral after losing its fourth-straight match in the ongoing FIBA World Cup last August 31, 2023, held at the Araneta Coliseum.

In front of another jam-packed home court full of Filipino hopefuls, Gilas failed to complete the comeback against South Sudan and is still winless in the global hoops games, 87-68.

Boosted by an off-the-charts shooting from the three-point line after finishing the classification round duel with 36.40% from deep, South Sudan officially fended off the hosts in a grueling clash.

South Sudan went off to the races after quickly establishing a double-digit lead on the Filipinos, converting every basket they hoisted from downtown while capitalizing on Gilas’ cold start.

The visiting nation stepped on the gas pedal and was looking to secure an early blowout win when they led by as much as 21 points, 51-30, but the never-say-die-attitude Gilas instilled since the start of the World Cup was in full display again when they managed to trim their deficit to just four points in the final frame.

With Gilas staying within striking distance and needing something to spark the crowd and their bench, an AJ Edu alley-oop assist was slammed by Kai Sotto to pull them within four points, 60-56, with 7:30 remaining in the game.

The Filipinos looked to mount a stellar comeback in the final stretch of the classification match but South Sudan went hot again in the most perfect time of the fourth quarter.

After the Sotto dunk, South Sudan countered with a 4-0 run spearheaded by a steal and would later on balloon its lead again back to double digits.

Gilas tried to pile up the points when time was running out but South Sudan ended the final five minutes with a 27-12 scoring run which was enough to help them secure a 19-point cushion.

The PHL national team was playing catch-up during the whole game and failed to steal the lead despite having 24 points from, Jordan Clarkson.

Aside from Clarkson’s explosion, Dwight Ramos was also automatic against South Sudan after chipping in 20 points and 12 rebounds but was not enough to contain the hot-shooting from the opposition.

Gilas will still have one last match to determine their final FIBA World Cup ranking and will hope to save their best for last against China today, at 8 PM, still at the Araneta Coliseum.