26 Aug CLUTCH PLAYS FROM TOWNS LIFTS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC OVER GILAS IN FIBA WORLD CUP
FIBA World Cup
Gilas Pilipinas suffered an 87-81 loss to Dominican Republic to open their campaign in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 on Friday, August 25 at the Philippine Arena.
NBA player Karl-Anthony Towns went to work late in the game, delivering in the clutch to score 26 points and 10 rebounds for Dominican Republic. He also shot 5-of-16 from the field, but made 15 of his 16 free throw shots.
The loss was a dampener for Gilas Pilipinas, who was in the fight for the whole game that was witnessed by 38,115 fans to set a new FIBA Basketball World Cup attendance record.
Jordan Clarkson also committed his fifth and final foul with 3:32 left in the game and Gilas trailing 79-76. Dominican Republic took advantage as they go to Towns, whose hook shot increased the gap to five points, a cushion that proved to be enough.
Even with the loss, Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes stayed proud with the effort showed by the players in keeping the game competitive against a team that was led by a legitimate NBA All-Star in Towns.
“I really love the fight of our players. They competed. Competed hard. Unfortunately, the disqualification of Jordan, really a big blow for us,” said Reyes, who also felt that the fifth foul was “could have easily been a let-go.”
Clarkson finished with 28 points, overcoming a flat start to lift Gilas to a 42-42 tie at the half. The Utah Jazz standout also had seven rebounds, seven assists, and two steals but had eight turnovers.
June Mar Fajardo had 16 points and seven rebounds, while shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from the field. Dwight Ramos added 13 points and six rebounds, and AJ Edu supplied seven points and five rebounds for Gilas Pilipinas.