WATCH: Jordan Heading Highlights [2021 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers]

A close loss against pre-tournament favorites Serbia followed by a blow-out defeat to the Dominican Republic ended Philippinas team hopes to secure the Olympic appearance for the first time since the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. Even in defeat, the main goal of “Gilas Philippines” did not change.

As a young team in a time of transition, the name of the game is to continue to grow and be the best for the next edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup when it makes its appearance in the Philippines in 2023.

With “Gilas” young guns Kai Sotto and Dwight Ramos showing their skills on the world stage, the team has the look and composition of one soon to relish that upcoming challenge.

Basketball in the Philippines is the country’s most popular sport – by far – and its national team a national brand. Therefore, the team’s defeats in international competition are always challenging to bear in this Asian country.

That time is now, after two defeats in two matches that Gilas played at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Belgrade.

The public at home and the players in the Belgrade bubble were happy and expressed pride after the close defeat against a Serbian contingent playing on home court in the opener.

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