Gilas Pilipinas lost to Japan for the first time in 12 years and crashed out of the Top 8 of the FIBA Asia Cup for the first time in 15 years.
The Philippine national basketball team fell to the Akatsuki Five, 102-81, in the knockout match for the right to advance to the quarterfinal round, Tuesday in the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup at the Istora Senayan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Just 2 months after relinquishing the gold medal to Indonesia in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, the Gilas crew suffered another devastating blow with the team’s worst finish since placing 9th in the continental showpiece in 2007.
“Well, obviously, the result is not what we wanted. Again, we are very sorry that we’ve disappointed a lot of our countrymen, our fellow Filipinos. Like I said, we brought a very young team here and the experience is just going to make them better,” said head coach Chot Reyes shortly after the lopsided match.
“To be able to be exposed to that kind of intensity and level of play here in the Asia Cup, there is not one player on our team in the 12 players that have been in the Asia Cup. This is all their first time. So, like I said, we wished to get at least into the top eight but we weren’t able to get the job done,” he added.
NBA player Yuta Watanabe displayed his superb all-around skills by chalking up 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists in just 19 minutes of action as the Japanese finally pulled one over the Filipinos after 5 straight losses in the FIBA Asia Cup since 2003.
Yuki Togashi and naturalized big man Luke Evans paced Japan with 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. led the charge for Gilas with 16 points while Kiefer Ravena finished with 15. Carl Tamayo contributed 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Japan B.League veteran Thirdy Ravena could only cough up 2 points on 1-of-7 shooting in 23 minutes of play.