Already eliminated from group phase second round contention, the Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team wanted to salvage a win in their final game in the first round of the group phase at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Foshan, China.
Gilas Pilipinas mounted a late comeback attempt and was able to force overtime, but ultimately came up short, 84-81, and finished winless in the Group Phase of the World Championships.
Guard Kiefer Ravena was visibly saddened by the result right after the game ended, nearly breaking down in tears as he reflected on the multiple missed chances late in the game.
“Its tough. We wanted to win so bad, especially for coach Yeng (Guiao), and for the world team, but we fell short,” shared an emotional Ravena in a mix of English and Filipino.
The 6-foot-1 guard finished with six points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals, and despite not being able to find his shot (1-for-8 field goals made) tonight, was instrumental late in a fourth quarter run that helped the Filipinos come back to take a momentary lead.
Down by three with under four seconds remaining in the overtime period, Ravena had one more chance to send the game into a second overtime after Angola’s Carlos Morais split his free throws on the other end, but missed the transition three-point attempt as time expired.
“I never get emotional in the games,” continued Ravena, as he tried to fight back tears. “But we’ve been under so much criticism, so we really wanted to win today. But it is what it is, breaks of the game. I just wanted to win so bad for coach Yeng, but tough luck.”
The 25-year-old was out for an extended period of time after previously testing positive for banned substances methylhexaneamine, higenamine 1, and 3-dimethylbutylamine (DMBA) which he had ingested from a pre-workout drink, and was meted an 18-month suspension by FIBA that only lapsed last August 24, allowing him to officially return to basketball activities and competitions.
“It would have been the world to us. That’s why we are so sad (about the result), it’s because we couldn’t make our countrymen proud,” he closed.
Only the top two seeds from each group advance into the second round of the group phase, meaning Serbia and Italy have qualified, and both Angola and the Philippines will be relegated to the Classification Round.
The Philippine team plays against Tunisia on September 6 at the Mastercard Arena (formerly Wukesong Arena) in Beijing, China.
Follow us on Twitter at @aseansports1.