Jul 04, 2024

OQT: Incredible Gilas win after massive upset of Latvia

GILAS Pilipinas kicked off its Olympic Qualifying Tournament campaign in a historic way.

The Filipinos scored a stunning upset of Latvia, 89-80, and put themselves in contention of advancing to the semifinals of the Paris Olympic qualifiers early Thursday morning at Riga Areana.

Justine Brownlee topscored for 26 points and had nine rebounds and nine assists, while Kai Sotto towered for 18 points and eight rebounds in the wire-to-wire win that left a capacity crowd stunned in silence following the fall of the sixth-ranked team in the world.

The victory was the first by a Philippine side against a European team in a FIBA tournament in the last 64 years or since it beat Spain, 84-82, during the 1960 Rome Olympics as per FIBA records.

"I'm totally shocked to be sitting in front of you guys after winning the basketball game," said Gilas coach Tim Cone, who still couldn't believe about the surprising feat pulled off by his 11-man Gilas team.

Sponsored content:
"This is not something we thought we're gonna do, I'll be honest with you."

Gilas got off to a sizzling 8-0 start and unbelievably led by as many as 26 points in the third quarter.

Latvia made a serious run in the final period, but the Philippines couldn't be denied and hang tough in the end to clinch the win that put Gilas on top of Group A with a 1-0 record.

Dwight Ramos added 12 points and seven rebounds, June Mar Fajardo with 11 and Chris Newsome with 10 as all Gilas starters finished in double figures.

The Filipinos however, have little time to celebrate the remarkable victory as they battle Georgia Thursday night (Manila time) and looking for a win to clinch a berth in the crossover semis.

Sponsored content:
Georgia lost to Latvia by a mile on opening night of the qualifiers, 83-55.

Rodion Kurucs paced Latvia with 18 points as the host played minus ace point guard Arturs Zagars. (RG)

The scores

Philippines (89) -- Brownlee 26, Sotto 18, Ramos 12, Fajardo 11, Newsome 10, Perez 6, Quiambao 3, Aguilar 2, Tamayo 1, Oftana 0.

Latvia (80) -- Kurucs 18, Dav. Bertans 10, Strelnieks 10, Zoriks 10, Smits 9, Strautins 6, Lomazs 6, Dar. Bertans 5, Timma 3, Mejeris 1.

Quarterscores: 32-16; 54-38; 67-56; 89-80.