Gilas Pilipinas rallied back from the depth of a 20-point deficit and pulled off a thrilling 77-76 comeback win against China to book a place in the gold medal round of the 19th Asian Games on Wednesday night.
Justin Brownlee took matters into his own hands in the stretch run, hitting two straight pressure-packed three pointers including the basket that put the national team in front with 23 seconds left to play after a long chase.
The Chinese, who led by as many as 46-26, had one final attempt to turn the game around, but Zhenlin Zhang missed the potential game winner at the buzzer, sparking a Gilas team celebration at midcourt before a stunned partisan crowd at the Hangzhou Olympic Centre.
Brownlee scored 17 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, and was 7-of-12 from beyond the arc overall.
“This is the kind of player that he is. A very clutch player who makes big shots all the time,” said winning coach Tim Cone in praising the Barangay Ginebra import.
“I’m very proud of him (Brownlee) and I’m very proud of our players.”
The Philippines will now play Jordan in the gold medal match set on Friday. The Jordanians routed Chinese Taipei earlier, 90-71, in the other semifinal pairing.