The Philippines achieved a grand victory against Jordan in their recent basketball match at the Asian Games. The entire nation was captivated by Gilas’ performance, and the players under Coach Tim Cone did not disappoint the Filipino dream of winning a gold medal.
Gilas’ journey to the elusive gold medal was like threading a needle. Many stayed up late to watch the game, eagerly anticipating every minute. Gilas almost lost their momentum when Jordan made a strong comeback in the fourth quarter. However, the Filipino players, including Justin Brownlee, Scottie Thompson, Chris Newsome, Ange Kuame, Jun Mar Fajardo, and almost everyone else, worked tirelessly to secure their sweet victory.
It’s worth noting that the Filipino cagers had only a few days of full practice before the game, and the initial lineup was changed, with PBA stars like Chris Ross, Kevin Alas, Arvin Tolentino, Marcio Lassiter, and FIBA World Cup roster member CJ Perez joining the team. This victory highlights the crucial role of Coach Tim Cone in achieving success. It emphasizes that victory doesn’t solely rely on the players’ skills but also on the quality of the coach, who plays a central role in the competition.
Coach Chot Reyes, who held the position before, had faced criticism due to the passage of time, and it has become evident that Cone has the advantage over Reyes. Cone’s track record as the winningest coach in the PBA and other leagues proves his prowess. He is known for his tactical skills, motivation, and ball movement strategies.
In this game, almost everyone contributed points, rebounds, and other aspects of the game, showcasing a true team effort. Unlike in FIBA games where only a few players have the confidence to shoot, Gilas’ strategy focused on ball movement and teamwork, weakening Jordan’s defense and offense. This teamwork was a stark contrast to Jordan Clarkson’s play, where some hesitation was evident among other players due to his authority to shoot.
Coach Cone’s strategy involved moving the ball through passing before attacking the basket. The rationale behind this approach is to avoid players becoming exhausted due to back-and-forth play and not fully utilizing their potential. Cone’s system emphasized ball movement, which helped weaken Jordan’s defense as they were well-studied by the opponent.
While Gilas lost to Jordan in the elimination round, they didn’t escape the finals because Cone knew that the Jordanian players gained a significant confidence boost from their previous encounter.
Gilas’ path to the gold medal was challenging, defeating Iran in the quarter-finals and narrowly edging out China in the semi-finals by just one point. Jordan may have underestimated them since Gilas struggled to break free from their previous opponents despite winning.
The defeat in basketball seemed to overshadow China’s success in other medal categories, highlighting that even if we win only a few gold medals, we did not neglect one of the popular Asian Games sports, basketball.
In basketball, the focus should not be on individual skills but on teamwork. That’s why basketball teams consist of five players, emphasizing chronology and teamwork. Winning in basketball is not just about getting gold; it’s about camaraderie and teamwork.
Gilas Pilipinas has indeed made history in Asian Games basketball by winning the gold medal in this competition, marking a significant achievement after six decades. The last time the Philippines won an Asiad gold medal was in 1962 with a team led by FIBA hall of famer Caloy Loyzaga.
Congratulations to the Gilas Team!
(FB EYE / By: Ferdz M. Brizo / Bicol Peryodiko newspaper weekly)