Gilas beats Jordan to win Asian Games basketball gold

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Gilas Pilipinas Team Philippines celebrates with their gold medals after defeating Jordan in their men's basketball gold medal at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023.

Gilas Pilipinas members celebrate with their gold medals after defeating Jordan in their men’s basketball gold medal at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Gilas Pilipinas head coach Tim Cone asked for one more great effort from his players in the 19th Asian Games. On Friday night, he got a performance that will be talked about for ages.

The Philippines rolled past Jordan, 70-60, to rule the men’s basketball showcase at Hangzhou Olympic Centre Gymnasium in China and deliver the country’s first Asian Games gold in over half a century.

Justin Brownlee was big once again, scattering 20 points for Gilas Pilipinas. Ange Kouame added 14, Chris Newsome had 13 and Scottie Thompson 11 in the effort that avenged a beatdown at the hands of the Falcons last weekend.

“Our guys were just really disciplined tonight,” Cone told reporters in the din of the revelries. “It was just a good game by us tonight and they (Jordan) had an off shooting night.”

It was that preliminary round loss that forced Gilas Pilipinas to play an extra game in the tournament. But looking back, the long route afforded Cone and the squad just exactly what it needed for a no-tomorrow duel for the top prize.

Gilas players carry their head coach Tim Cone following their win over Jordan in the men's basketball gold medal match at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023.

Gilas Pilipinas players carry their head coach Tim Cone following their win over Jordan in the men’s basketball gold medal match at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Gilas thrashed Qatar, survived Iran and stunned China to become one cohesive squad worthy of taking down a well-oiled foe eager to notch a milestone for itself.

That improvement was in full view on Friday night, as the Philippines managed to enjoy leads as big as 13 points.

“I think we did a good job recovering (Sami) Bzai, not letting him get a lot of looks, and that was one of the keys,” Cone said.

“I know it’s no gold for Jordan. It would’ve been their first. Good for both of us,” he added with a smirk.

Both sides started slowly in an error-riddled first quarter which the Philippines edged 17-12, but Jordan–seeking its first Asiad title–rallied to enter half-time level at 31-31.

The momentum shifted back to the Philippines in the third quarter and they took a 51-41 lead into the home stretch and then held their nerve for a famous victory.

Through the win, the Philippines tabbed its fifth gold medal. The last came in 1962 in Jakarta, Indonesia, courtesy of a squad led by the late Fiba Hall of Famer Carlos Loyzaga.

The Nationals’ last podium finish—a bronze medal—was back in 1998, when Cone also called the shots.



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Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 24 points, but with Freddy Ibrahim the only other Jordan player scoring in double digits, the Falcons had to settle for a silver—a feat on its own when ranged against the country’s measly five appearances in the quadrennial showpiece. –with reports from Agence France-Presse

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