Gilas trims Senegal in overtime | Inquirer Sports

Gilas trims Senegal in overtime

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 09:59 PM September 04, 2014

SEVILLE, Spain—Jimmy Alapag belted out his international swan song very, very well, and spearheaded Gilas Pilipinas in dishing out what it had been receiving all week long in the Fiba World Cup: a heartbreaker.

Holding the Filipinos together when Gilas’ go-to-guy fouled out, Alapag scored five free throws inside the final 45 seconds for an 81-79 overtime victory over Senegal—the country’s first win in this event in 40 years—before flag-waving, teary-eyed countrymen at Centro Deportivo San Pablo here.


The 5-foot-8 Alapag scored 18 points and held the fort when naturalized player Andray Blatche picked up his fifth foul with a good 1:55 left in the extension as the Filipinos survived the loss of a 13-point lead in the first half and a stubborn Senegal side to go out in style.


“All of our kababayans around the world deserve this win,” Alapag said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege playing for the national team. I’ve enjoyed every minute that I played.

“We are so passionate (about the game) and I can feel the energy of all Filipinos all over the world tonight,” added the Gilas team captain, who had earlier announced that this tournament will be his last as a national player.

Gilas seemed headed to another disastrous finish after losing that 13-point lead and a three-point edge inside the final 1:32 of regulation, when the Filipinos couldn’t pluck down that one defensive rebound which would have sealed it right there.

Maleye Ndoye knocked the triple that sewed it all up at 64 before LA Tenorio muffed the game-winning floater inside the paint at the buzzer.

The loss left the Senegalese with a 2-3 record after they had yielded a 19-0 run to the Filipinos in the second quarter.

The real image of Gilas Pilipinas’ “Puso!” battlecry, Alapag ably quarterbacked the Filipinos when Blatche went out of the game and June Mar Fajardo was only too willing to help.


Japeth Aguilar of the Philippines, center, waves with teammates after winning the Group B Basketball World Cup match against Senegal in Seville, Spain, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. The 2014 Basketball World Cup competition will take place in various cities in Spain from Aug. 30 through to Sept. 14. (AP Photo/Miguel Angel Morenatti)

Fajardo announced his coming as a force in the shaded lane when he battered his way around a phalanx of Senegalese beanpoles to shoot 15 points and grab nine rebounds.

“We showed the whole world that we belonged, that we could compete,” Gilas coach Chot Reyes said. “Tonight we showed them that we could win.”

Reyes had a very short rotation, with Marc Pingris seeing scant minutes and Jason Castro not playing at all. Both are nursing injuries.

But nine men contributed offensively, with Blatche also shooting 18 and grabbing 14 rebounds.

Not since the 1974 edition in Puerto Rico has the Philippines won a World Cup game, carving out a couple of one-point victories over Australia and the Central African Republic to finish 13th out of 14 countries.

Gilas may have finished with a 1-4 record this time, but the way it played certainly installed the Filipinos as the darlings of this tournament.

Senegal went 71-69 up when Blatche committed his final foul on Ibrahima Thomas, who knocked down two free throws.

Fajardo tied it up for the last time at 71 with 1:35 remaining. Then Ranidel de Ocampo made two free throws followed by two more Fajardo charities.

Alapag then made 5-of-6 from the stripe from there which sandwiched a triple by Maurice Ndour as Gilas sewed it up with a 79-74 lead that made the final 11 seconds academic.

“This one is for them, it’s been 40 years,” Alapag said.


GILAS PILIPINAS 81—Alapag 18, Blatche 18, Fajardo 15, Norwood 7, Lee 6, Aguilar 6, Tenorio 5, Chan 4, De Ocampo 2, Pingris 0, David 0.

SENEGAL 79—Faye 20, Ndoye 13, Ndour 13, Dieng 13, D’Almeida 9, Ndiaye 5, Thomas 2, Diop 2, Badji 2.

Quarters: 13-19, 37-24, 53-44, 64-all, 81-79


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TAGS: Fiba World Cup 2014, News, Sports

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