By Ivan Stewart Saldajeno
MANILA – Gilas Pilipinas is now in danger of missing the Last 16 phase of the FIBA World Cup after bowing to Angola, 80-70, on Sunday night in front of 12,784 fans at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Gilas failed to sustain a solid start as Angola turned the tide late in the second quarter.
Gilas led by as much as 11 points, 28-1, early in the second quarter, but Angola finished the first half with a 19-5 run to take a 36-33 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Gilas still took a 45-43 lead midway through the third quarter, only for Angola to regain its bearings for a 56-52 advantage entering the fourth.
Angola threatened to pull away after opening the final period with a 17-5 run to take a 73-57 lead with 3:39 remaining.
Gilas responded with an 11-0 blast that cut the lead down to five, 73-68, with 1:12 left.
Gerson Domingos, though, iced the game for Angola as he was left wide open from the right corner for the dagger three with 47 seconds to go.
Gerson Goncalves led Angola with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals and 1 block.
Domingos added 15 points, 1 rebound and 7 assists.
Jordan Clarkson led Gilas with 21 points, 3 rebounds and 7 assists.
Gilas (0-2) needs to beat Italy (1-1) on Tuesday night by 13 points or more and hope that Angola (1-1) loses to the Dominican Republic (2-0) to advance to the second round of the group stage.
Otherwise, Gilas will be relegated to the classification round for 17th to 32nd places.
“This is a tough one to take. The crowd was great. We had a good start and we wanted to give them something to reward their loyalty and support. Unfortunately we fell short at the end. It was a good game but tough one to take,” Gilas center AJ Edu said after the match. (PNA)