Philippines Secures First Asian Games Basketball Gold in Six Decades

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Philippines Secures First Asian Games Basketball Gold in Six Decades

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HANGZHOU, China – The Philippines celebrated a historic victory in Asian Games basketball, marking their first gold since 1962. In a thrilling 70-60 win over Jordan, American-born Justin Brownlee delivered a stellar performance with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Former Brooklyn Nets starter Rondae Hollis-Jefferson led the scoring for Jordan with 24 points but couldn’t secure their first-ever basketball gold.

The game began slowly, with both teams making errors in the first quarter. The Philippines took a narrow 17-12 lead. However, Jordan rallied and reached halftime with a tied score of 31-31.

The momentum shifted in the Philippines’ favor during the third quarter, giving them a 51-41 lead entering the final stretch. They maintained their composure to secure a historic victory.

Ivory Coast-born Angelo Kouame contributed 14 points and expressed the significance of the win, saying, “It means a lot after all these years, and that’s bigger than all of us.”

While the Philippines had won Asiad gold four times consecutively from 1951 to 1962, they had only made it to one final since, in 1990, when they lost to China.

In recent years, China dominated Asian basketball, winning eight of the last 11 gold medals, with South Korea claiming the other three. However, in Hangzhou, the landscape changed, with South Korea failing to make the knockouts, and China finishing third after defeating Taiwan 101-73 in the bronze-medal match.

Chris Newsome, an American-born player for the Philippines, praised the team’s determination, stating, “There was a lot of people who didn’t think we could do it, and we proved them wrong.”

Newsome was tasked with guarding Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and acknowledged the challenge, saying, “He’s a hell of a competitor, so I went out there to try to give my best and to try to stop him.”

Despite a shaky start with both teams struggling in the first quarter, a three-pointer from Brownlee gave the Philippines an edge heading into the second quarter, where they built a 13-point lead.

Jordan fought back with crucial three-pointers from Fadi Mustafa and Hollis-Jefferson, ultimately going into halftime tied with the Philippines.

Jordan briefly took the lead in the third quarter, but the Philippines, led by Brownlee and Newsome, reclaimed control. They entered the final quarter with a 10-point advantage and held on for the historic victory.

In the third-place playoff, China defeated Taiwan after a dominant third quarter, with Cui Yongxi leading the way with 20 points and five rebounds.

Reference

https://dunyanews.tv/en/Sports/760890-Philippines-win-first-Asian-Games-basketball-gold-in-61-years

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/sport/asian-games-philippines-win-first-basketball-gold-61-years-3827211

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