The rigors of the grueling, tough grind took its toll on the 11-man Gilas Pilipinas side in the end.
After their solid stand against Serbia the previous night and a neck-and-neck battle with the Dominican Republic through the first half, Gilas’ young guns suddenly lost spunk, steam and firepower, leading to a 67-94 downfall and their exit in the chase for the coveted Tokyo Games berth.
Their Olympic dream came to an end in their Belgrade journey, and they’re now heading home to prepare instead for the FIBA Asia Cup in Indonesia in August.
“There are many lessons to learn from this. Will take this in the chin, learn our lessons and take it for the future,” said Gilas coach Tab Baldwin.
Sad lessons were learned from their shattering downhill skid from a 41-39 edge at the half.
“Obviously, it’s a tough game for us today. The first half I don’t think was an indicative of what the Dominican Republic team is all about. We know they’re a tough team and in the second they came out as a team,” said Baldwin.
The Dominicans unleashed a smoldering run from the halftime huddle, leaving behind the Gilas side flat cold.
Dominican Republic 94 – Liz 23, Solano 21, Torres Cuevas 20, Nunez Castillo 13, Francis Ramirez 5, Rojas 4, Araujo 4, Santos 2, Mendoza 2, Henriquez 0, Feliz Sarita 0, Martinez 0.
Philippines 67 – Heading 16, Kouame 10, Sotto 8, Navarro 6, Belangel 6, Abarrientos 6, Baltazar 5, Tamayo 5, Nieto 4, Go 1, Chiu 0.
Quarterscores: 23-22, 39-41, 65-51, 94-67.