THERE was no blowout loss, only a heart-rending defeat.
Gilas Pilipinas was given a chance to pull off what could have been a saving grace but wilted when it mattered most and absorbed a deflating 81-84 overtime loss to Angola yesterday in the 2019 FIBA World Cup at the Foshan International Sports and Cultural Arena in Foshan, China.
Naturalized big man Andray Blatche canned two free throws that enabled Gilas to come within 78-80 with 1:54 remaining in the extra period but the Angolans scored three straight points capped by Gerson Domingo’s two freebies that made it 83-78, only 31.3 ticks left.
Roger Pogoy sank a three-pointer in the next play, leaving the door ajar for Gilas after Carlos Morais muffed two free throws.
Kiefer Ravena, however, missed a desperation triple try at the buzzer as the Filipino dribblers’ gritty fightback from a 12-point second half deficit fell short.
Gilas newcomer and pro league rookie CJ Perez had a chance to win the game in regulation but missed on a three-pointer that sent the game into overtime.
Valdelicio Joaquim led Angola with 20 points and seven rebounds while naturalized player Reggie Moore and Yanick Moreira chipped in 12 markers each.
Morais and Jacques Conceicao also had 11 and 10 points, respectively
With yet another painful defeat, world No. 31 Gilas wound up winless in three matches in Group D and will travel to Beijing for the classification round. The Angolans, ranked 39th, ended the group stage with a 1-2 record.
Gilas went into the match off a 67-126 beatdown at the hands of Serbia last Sept. 2 while Angola bounced back from a 61-92 loss to Italy also last Sept. 2.
An emotional Gilas coach Yeng Guiao felt his charges were so close yet so far in notching a win.
“The first two games were lopsided, this one we had a chance to win,” Guiao was quoted as saying by online sports portalspin.ph.
Playing its best game in the prestigious 32-nation spectacle, Gilas trailed 34-38 at the half but allowed Angola to pad its lead to 56-46 going into the period.
The 6-foot-11 Blatche paced Gilas with 23 points and 12 rebounds in his best game in the tourney while Perez and Robert Bolick added 17 and10, respectively.