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Nationals shocker: Enormous win over world No. 6 Latvia in Enviornment Riga

AND shock the world Gilas Pilipinas did.

Not given a lot of an opportunity towards a high-powered, seemingly unstoppable Latvia backed by a horde of dwelling supporters, the gritty Nationals defied doubters and delivered a hell of a efficiency that will go down as one of many best victories in Philippine basketball historical past.

Coach Tim Cone and his gutsy Gilas 11 toppled the world No. 6 and closely favored Latvians within the latter’s personal yard, 89-80, as they set their bid within the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Event off to a flying begin early Thursday on the Enviornment Riga.

Not like within the hosts’ earlier 83-55 romp over Georgia within the Group A opener the place they had been untouchable, the fearless Filipinos asserted themselves and bought the Latvians in a vice-grip in nearly all of 40 minutes, sending kababayans again dwelling who stayed up within the wee hours for the reside broadcast of sport in a frenzy.

That huge reversal marked the primary time for the Philippines to beat a European opponent in a FIBA event after 64 lengthy years. Final time was an 84-82 verdict over Spain within the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Within the scheme of issues on this ongoing FIBA Olympic Qualifying Event for the Paris Video games, the Pinoy cagers are actually in good place to advance to the crossover semifinals both as high seed or second-placed workforce within the group.

A win towards No. 23 Georgia (0-1) final night time would make this doable. However a defeat would nonetheless suffice offered the dropping margin can be 18 factors or much less; lose by 19 and it might be the Georgians following the Latvians (1-1) to the following stage as a substitute.

“We’re completely happy about it, we’re pleased with it. Nevertheless it’s only one sport and we’re not right here to only win one sport. We’re right here to do what we will to get to the finals and perhaps a visit to Paris,” Mr. Cone stated in an interview on One Sports activities.

“That is one step for us however only a child step. We’ve bought extra steps forward of us. We’re not going to get too excessive with this win (as) we’ve extra to do.”

Justin Brownlee sizzled with 26 huge factors and went a rebound and an help shy of a triple-double output within the one-for-the-books takedown of Latvia, a workforce that defeated Spain, France, Lithuania and Italy en path to fifth place within the 2023 FIBA World Cup in Manila.

Mr. Brownlee highlighted his excellent play with clutch hits from in all places that helped Gilas create separation and lead by as many as 26 factors plus a dagger four-point play that quelled the hosts’ fourth-quarter rally and surprised the predominantly Latvian followers within the 8,835-strong crowd.

“The world doesn’t actually know a lot about Justin Brownlee, however for me, he’s the Michael Jordan of Philippines basketball. That’s what we anticipated him to do and that’s what he does each night time,” Kai Sotto, who had 18 and eight, stated of the Gilas naturalized participant.

“I admire this coming from Kai, however I’m simply on the market making an attempt to do my finest, making an attempt to do no matter I can to assist the workforce win,” stated Mr. Brownlee. — Olmin Leyba

The Scores

Philippines 89 — Brownlee 26, Sotto 18, Ramos 12, Fajardo 11, Newsome 10, Perez 6, Quiambao 3, Aguilar 2, Tamayo 1, Oftana 0.

Latvia 80 — Kurucs 18, Dav. Bertans 10, Strelnieks 10, Zoriks 10, Smits 9, Strautins 6, Lomazs 6, Dar. Bertans 5, Timma 3, Cavars 2, Mejeris 1.

Quarterscores: 32-16; 54-38; 67-56; 89-80.

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