By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
Sept. 26, 2014
INCHEON, South Korea – Gilas Pilipinas’ quest for gold at the 17th Asian Games just got a little harder.
The Philippine National Men’s Basketball team lost to Qatar, 77-68, during the Men’s Basketball Quarterfinals at Hwaseon Sports Complex in South Korea Friday night.
Even after building a good 10-point lead in the first half – together with captain Jimmy Alapag’s 3-pointers that got team Pilipinas back in the game – the tall and determined Qataris’ gigantic run in the third quarter sealed the Philippine’s first loss in the quarterfinals.
“We played bad,” said John Uicicho. “Ang sama ng laro naming ngayon, pero bawi nalang kami bukas … Everybody has to work together, there was you know, everybody has to work hand in hand so we can accomplish our next two games.”
With 18 turnovers, 16 failed 3-pointers, and disappointing errors, power forward Marc Pingris says the team needs some serious tune up.
“Hindi kasi masyado kasing pumapasok yung three points natin sa labas,” said Pingris. “Si Jimmy lang talaga yung pumutok ngayon, kasi matatangkad din talaga sila, pero kaya naman talaga natin, medyo konting usap lang mamaya or tomorrow sa practice.”
From OFW factory workers to U.S. military Pinoys stationed in South Korea, Filipino fans who dominated the crowd cheered on for Gilas Pilipinas despite the disappointing game.
“Disappointed, disappointed,” said Joel Espero, a member of the U.S. military stationed at Osan Airbase, “But hey, we’ll come through.”
“Pilipinas did their best, it’s OK,” said Fernando Rekabar, “You know what, that’s part of the game – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
Oliver Camantigue, another member of the U.S. military stationed at Osan Airbase, said, “So now we gotta win against Korea tomorrow and the next game. We gotta win against two to make it to the semifinals.”
Team Gilas has to win both games with host South Korea on Saturday and Kazakhstan on Sunday in order to stay alive in their quest for the elusive Asian Games gold.