Philippine Men's Basketball Team Aims to End 61-Year Asian Games Gold Drought
The Philippine men’s basketball team, known as Gilas, is on a historic quest to end a 61-year gold drought at the Asian Games. The climax of this incredible trip will see them face Jordan in the men’s basketball tournament final at the Hangzhou Olympic Centre.
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The excitement for this game is at an all-time high, spurred by Gilas’ recent 77-76 come-from-behind semifinal triumph against reigning champion China. This spectacular victory drove them to the gold medal match and sparked optimism for an entire nation.
The Philippines last made it to the gold medal game in 1990, when an all-PBA squad headed by the great Robert Jaworski Sr. finished second in Beijing. However, the ultimate glory of Asian Games basketball winners has not been attained since 1962, when the Filipinos won gold in Jakarta, Indonesia, with late Hall of Famer Carlos Loyzaga as their cornerstone.
Coach Tim Cone is well aware of the gravity of the situation, yet he remains focused on the work at hand. “I’m trying to stay calm because we still have a game.” We still have another game, and we aim to win gold, as stated from the start,” Cone stressed. “I’m not sure we believed we’d get here, but we did say it from the beginning.”
The gold medal game versus Jordan, who upset Gilas in the preliminary round with a score of 87-62, promises to be an exciting rematch. Jordan, led by TNT Tropang Giga import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, dominated Chinese Taipei 90-71 in the other semifinal to proceed unbeaten to the championship.
Coach Cone had voiced a desire for a second opportunity against Jordan, namely Hollis-Jefferson, the team that gave Gilas its only loss in the quadrennial meet. Now that their request has been fulfilled, Gilas hopes for a different conclusion that would immortalize their names and erase a 61-year gold medal drought at the Asian Games.
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