Palace lauds Gilas Pilipinas for win vs. Japan, hopes for best at finals

Gilas Pilipinas is the first team to give the Philippines its first win in a FIBA tournament in 40 years.

Gilas Pilipinas is the first team to give the Philippines its first win in a FIBA tournament in 40 years.

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Saturday congratulated Gilas Pilipinas for its victory against Japan, a feat that set up a finals duel for the Philippine team against host China in the FIBA Asia Championship.

“Congratulations once again to Gilas Pilipinas for putting one over Japan at to end up in the finals,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over state-run dzRB radio.

Gilas Pilipinas won over Japan, 81-70, on Friday, and an anticipated victory against China on Saturday would earn the Philippine team a ticket for next year’s Olympic basketball tournament in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Also, Valte said, “…confident po [tayo] that once again itatayo na naman po ng Gilas Pilipinas ang bandila ng Pilipinas … we wish them luck. We wish the boys well. We know that they will fight with talagang… ang sigaw talaga nating mga Pilipino ‘PUSO!'”

“Oo, talagang ‘yon, capital letters ‘yon—P-U-S-O—so umaasa po tayo na talagang ‘yon na naman. “PUSO” para sa Pilipinas ang dadalhin ng ating koponan. So good luck, Gilas!” she added.

The Philippine basketball team will face China at 8:30 p.m. in China.

With the win over Japan, the Philippines is back in the gold medal game of the FIBA Asia Championship. Gilas Pilipinas turned back a gritty Japan side, 81-70.

Andray Blatche and Jayson Castro once again led the scoring charge for the Philippines, finishing with 22 and 20 points, respectively.

But Gilas had a surprise package from 38-year-old veteran Dondon Hontiveros, who scored 18 points on six three-pointers, including big-time buckets down the stretch that gave the Philippines the edge. (MNS)

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