Gilas suffers second straight setback vs Spain
Published on July 2, 2024

Gilas Pilipinas took another tough loss in the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2024 as they fell to Spain 96-34 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Spanish side started like a house on fire as they opened the game with a 16-0 blast that put them in complete control early. A three-point play from Guillermo Del Pino capped the huge opening with the Philippines only scoring at the 5:17 mark of the first courtesy of a Joaquin Ludovice layup.

This was, unfortunately, the only basket that Gilas will score in the first 10 minutes, falling behind 30-2. Spain kept the pressure on the Philippines all game long, establishing their biggest lead of 62 points in the final score.

“Tough game for us. The sheer talent, size, and quality of the number 2 ranked team in the world was really a huge challenge for us,” said head coach Josh Reyes.

“The kids were game. We defended okay. We moved the ball. We limited their scoring somehow. We were okay with our shot selection. But in our first three possessions of the game, we made the kind of mistakes that we absolutely could not afford against a team as good as Spain.”

Spain out-rebounded Gilas 77 to 22 and also had more assists 29 to 7. The biggest statistical win for the Philippines was getting 12 steals against Spain’s 11

“We allowed 47 points in the first half and played a little bit better defensively in the second half where they scored 39 points,” added Reyes.

“It’s the same story as the game against Lithuania. Our offense could not support the quality of our defense. Even if our players were momentarily open, the size and athleticism of Spain’s defenders is something that our boys are not used to.”

Gilas made 22.2% of their field goal attempts while Spain hit 47.4% of theirs.

“But that is how basketball works sometimes,” Reyes closed. “The more games we play at this level, the more comfortable the kids would be playing against world-class opponents. Our eyes are now focused on Puerto Rico. We can’t be satisfied with just putting out the effort. We want a win so the work continues.”

Gilas had to work hard to qualify for the World Cup as they scored wins against Kazakhstan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan in the FIBA U16 Asian Championship to finish fourth in the tournament, behind Australia, China, and New Zealand but the ill-timed injury of star player Kieffer Alas threw a wrench in all the team’s plans.

After facing seventh-ranked Lithuania and second-ranked Spain, Gilas will face off against the 15th-ranked Puerto Rico. In comparison, the two Asian teams in the World Cup in China and the Philippines are ranked 24th and 25th.