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Gilas ends 61-year gold medal drought at the Asian Games, sparking Pinoy pride

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Oct 07, 2023 11:12 am Updated Oct 07, 2023 11:16 am

Gilas Pilipinas won the country's first Asian Games gold in over half a century, and Pinoys are over the moon!

Many Filipinos have showered the Tim Cone-led Philippine team with praises and applause after they emerged victorious against Jordan with a score of 70-60 at the recent game in Hangzhou Olympic Centre Gymnasium in China.

The Philippine men's basketball team's victory in the Asian Games is a historic moment, ending a 61-year gold medal drought. The last time the Philippines won gold was in 1962 when legendary player Caloy Loyzaga led the team to victory in Jakarta.

In a conference after the epic match, coach Tim Cone highlighted how they played their "best game of the tournament."

"I thought we just had a beautiful defensive performance led by Chris Newsome. He really handled their star Rondae Jefferson really well. He was disciplined, he didn't give Jefferson much room to get to the rim, and that was what we were concerned tonight," Cone stated, adding that they took advantage of Jordan not shooting the ball well during the game.

The win, coupled with Gilas Pilipinas also emerging victorious against this year's host China in a previous game, gave Cone and the players a lot of "unexplainable feelings."

"We know it means so much to everyone back home. We're passionate about our basketball. For us to be able to do that for our countrymen is such a huge thing and we can't wait to get home and share it with them," Cone said.

Former Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes congratulated the team and praised Justin Brownlee for his performance.

"Yes, yes, yes! Gilas wins! Congrats coach Tim and the guys. Grabe ka, Justin Brownlee! On to the finals!" Reyes captioned his Instagram picture that showed him raising his fist in excitement after having watched the thrilling game.

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A post shared by Chot Reyes (@coachot)

Filipino-American NBA star and FIBA player Jordan Clarkson also applauded Gilas Pilipinas on their win with a simple message. "Puso!" he wrote with a Philippine flag emoji on his X (formerly Twitter) account.

President Ferdinand "Bong Bong" Marcos Jr. also showed his appreciation to the team, writing: "I know every Filipino is proud to be called one today. Congratulations, Gilas Pilipinas, on this incredible feat! Your hard work continues to elevate Filipino athleticism and sportsmanship to the global arena. Many others gave their heartiest appreciation over Gilas Pilipinas' remarkable accomplishment."

"Congratulations Gilas Pilipinas. Grabe yung mga hustle play ni Scottie! Rebound at depensa ni Koume! Shooting ni Brownlee! At ang play ng buong squad ng Gilas," one user commented on Facebook.

"Congrats, Gilas! Not a fan but seeing how they played, you can feel the determination, the hunger, hardwork and the spirit to fight. Truly, an Asian powerhouse!" another one wrote.

Other social media users also consider Gilas' performance at the Asian games an improvement compared to their play at the FIBA Basketball World Cup, where they garnered a win-loss record of 1-4.

This will be the Philippines’ fourth gold medal in the Asian Games after Meggie Ochoa, Annie Ramirez, and EJ Obiena.