Gilas Pilipinas national team coach Tab Baldwin could not overcome China’s home court advantage and some minor opportunities during their game in the final round of 28th FIBA Asia Championship Olympic qualifying tournament Saturday night in Changsha, China.
After leading by 12-8 in the first quarter, the Filipinos were contained by China’s physical plays and towering presence to absorb a stinging 67-78 loss that earned them another silver-finish in the tournament. Philippines lost also in the finals last 2013 edition against former champion Iran.
Home court edge was a given factor after screaming fans were cheering for China all over the stadium and cursing the Filipinos. The Chinese team led by former National basketball Association player power forward Yi Jilian shot better than the Filipinos in the three-point zone (38%-25%).
China, in fact, was also awarded with 33 free throws and converted 26 points (64%). The Filipinos, on the other hand, made only 15 of 26 total free throws (58%).
It looked like the Filipinos were nervous during the game after missing some shots in the foul line.
The Filipinos, however, were ahead in the two-point field goal shooting percentage (42%-38%).
The Filipinos absorbed 28 fouls and nine turnovers while the Chinese only got 24 fouls but committed 10 turnovers.
Asia’s best point guard Jayson Castro, who was selected for the first Mythical Five in the tournament, was limited to only eight points on 3-of-14 shooting in the field in addition to his six rebounds, which was subpar to his usual average of almost 16 points per game and 2.8 assists in the tournament.
Besides the home court advantage, the Chinese players are taller than the Filipinos. They have four athletic seven-footers although the Filipinos were just out-rebounded by three (46-43).