BROWNLEE MAGIC. Gilas Pilipinas celebrate after stunning host China, 77-76, to advance in the gold medal match of the men’s basketball in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China on Wednesday night (Oct. 4, 2023). Justin Brownlee scored 17 of his 33 points, including a three-pointer in the final 23 seconds, in the fourth quarter to help the Philippines return to the finals since its silver finish in the 1990 edition. (PSC-POC Media Group photo)

MANILA – Gilas Pilipinas bounced back from a 20-point deficit to stun host China, 77-76, and advance to the gold-medal round of the men’s basketball in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China on Wednesday night.

Justin Brownlee drilled in two straight triples that put the Philippines ahead with only 23 seconds left in the game after rallying back from a 26-46 hole.

Zhang Zhenlin had a chance to turn the game around but missed the potential game-winner at the buzzer, sparking a celebration of the Filipinos at midcourt before a stunned partisan crowd at the Hangzhou Olympic Center

Brownlee hit 7-of-12 from the three-point area and finished with 33 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter.

“This is the kind of player that he is. A very clutch player who makes big shots all the time. I’m very proud of him (Brownlee) and I’m very proud of our players,” Gilas coach Tim Cone said.

With their come-from-behind win, the Philippines will have a rematch against Jordan for the gold medal on Friday night.

Jordan, which defeated Gilas Pilipinas, 87-62, in the preliminary round, routed Chinese Taipei, 90-71, in the other semifinal match.

The Philippines returned to the championship round for the first time since 1990 when an all-pro team under coach Robert Jaworski settled for a silver medal after a 90-74 loss to China.

Scottie Thompson contributed 13 points and eight rebounds and June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, eight points each for the Philippines while Kevin Alas came off the bench in the final 5 minutes to provide the much-needed 5 points. (PNA)