Gilas Pilipinas fails to get Rio Olympics slot; bows to China

MANILA, Oct. 4 (PNA) – Gilas Pilipinas fought hard but it was not enough to get China out of the way in the Philippines’ bid to book ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics Games.

China defeated the Philippines, 78-67, last Saturday night to win the gold of the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship and earned the right to represent Asia in the Olympics.

The Chinese finished the tournament with unblemished record while the Philippines found its seven-game winning streak halted in front of the hostile crowd that cheered every mistake of the Filipinos.

Youngsters Zhou Qi and Guo Ailun and veteran Yi Jianlian led the way in China's first-ever final showdown against the Philippines.

Yi Jianlian was rewarded for his consistently impressive play throughout the tournament by being named the recipient of the tournament's Most Valuable Player award.

The 27-year-old Yi had 11 points, 15 rebounds and 2 blocks for China in the final and averaged 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game, while shooting 52.9 percent from the field.

He headlined the All-Star Five, which also included his China teammates Guo Ailun and Zhou Qi, Jayson Castro of the Philippines, and Iran’s Samad Nikkhah Bahrami.

Castro, who averaged at least 20 points in the last five games, was limited to just eight points with naturalized Filipino Andre Blatche giving the Philippines the only double-digit output of 17 points.

Despite the defeat, it was still a commendable performance for the Filipinos who upset Iran in the elimination round, ending their five-game losing streak to the former defending champion.

Gilas Pilipinas played without bigman June Mar Fajardo who decided to skip the important tournament for the Philippines to rest his injured foot.

Iran captain Bahrami had a game-high 35 points as the 2013 champions bounced back from their semifinal defeat to China to take a 68-63 victory over Japan to bring home third place of the tournament. (PNA)


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