Jul 04, 2024

Narrow loss to Georgia not enough to deny Gilas OQT semis berth

GILAS Pilipinas lost a close one against Georgia, 96-94, but still managed to advance in the semifinals of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament Thursday night at the Riga Arena in Latvia.

It was the first loss after back-to-back games in less than 24 hours for the Filipinos, who nonetheless secured the no. 2 ticket in Group A behind top seed Latvia.

Going to the game, the 23rd ranked Georgia needed to beat Gilas by 19 points to make it to the next round.

And it appeared Georgia was up to the task after a surprising 16-0 start to the game and a 40-20 lead midway in the second quarter.

But the Filipinos were not about to let this one slipped away as they slowly crept their way back to the game and tied it at 74-all after the third quarter.

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"We've been saying, 'it's the first time I felt good about losing,'" said Gilas coach Tim Cone afterwards. "I just really wanna complement our guys. They were down 20 and it could've been an easy panic time but they worked their way back into the game."

"Right into the fourth quarter, I guess we were tied or something like that, but we were down 20 at various points of the game. One little streak here and there, we could've gone down 20."

Justin Brownlee kept the team together when everything was not going right for Gilas, breaking the ice for the Filipinos with a three pointer to finally get the team into a rhythm.

He eventually finished with another near triple-double of 28 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, while Dwight Ramos added 16 points four rebounds, and four assists.

CJ Perez came off the bench to contribute 14 points including eight straight points inside the final five minutes to keep the game close and prevent Georgia from putting together a huge scoring run, while Carl Tamayo added seven points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting from the field as the two filled in the void left by the injured Kai Sotto.

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The 7-foot-3 center hurt his rib at the halfway mark of the second quarter following a collision with Joe Thomasson underneath the basket.

Cone later disclosed Sotto was rushed to the hospital to examine the extent of the injury.

"He is in the hospital checking out his rib. We don't have any news on that yet on how far or whether he will be able to go forward," said the Gilas coach.

Gilas will now wait its possible opponent in the semis either among Brazil, Montenegro, or Cameroon.

The NBA pair of Alexander Mamukelashvili and Goga Bitadze showed the way for Georgia with 26 and 21 points, respectively, with Mamukelashvili of the San Antonio Spurs going 5-of-9 from long range.(RG)

The scores

Georgia (96) -- Mamukelashvili 26, Bitadze 21, Shengelia 17, Thomasson 14, Sanadze 13, Andronikashvili 5, Jintcharadze 0, Korsantia 0, Ochkhikidze 0, Londaridze 0.

Philippines (94) -- Brownlee 28, Ramos 16, Perez 14, Newsome 13, Tamayo 7, Fajardo 6, Sotto 4, Oftana 4, Aguilar 2, Quiambao 0.

Quarterscores: 28-17; 55-43; 74-74; 96-94.