Brazil def. Gilas Pilipinas, 71-60 (VIDEO) 2024 FIBA OQT Semis

Photo credit: FIBA

Kai Sotto-less Gilas Pilipinas Men, ranked No. 37 in the world, saw their dream of qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics come to an end after losing 60-71 to the world No. 12 Brazil men's national basketball team in the knockout semifinal of the 2024 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) on Saturday, July 6 at the Arena Riga in Latvia. [HIGHLIGHTS]

The Brazilians are coached by Croatian Aleksandar Petrovic, with NBA veteran Tiago Splitter as the assistant coach. Former NBA player 6'9" Bruno Caboclo, who was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, led the Brazilians with a double-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 blocks. 41-year-old Marcelinho Huertas, a former Los Angeles Laker, had a solid showing with 13 points (6/15 FG), 1 rebound, a game-high 7 assists, and a steal.

“We don’t want to make excuses, but losing Kai was big for us because it just took away our depth in the frontline and forced June Mar to have to overplay minutes. It’s kinda all mushroomed it right there,” Coach Tim Cone said.

“But bottom line is we weren’t good enough. We’ve got to be better. We are trying to tell ourselves that almost isn’t good enough, almost winning, almost getting there, almost that. It’s not good enough. We’ve got to find a way to get over the hump." Cone added.

June Mar Fajardo finished with a double-double of 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting to go along with eleven rebounds, and two assists in 31 minutes of play. Justin Brownlee finished with fifteen points (2/9 2pts, 3/7 3pts, 2/2ft), with eight rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 38 minutes while Dwight Ramos added 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

“We were just lacking a big. We had to overplay our frontline. More than anything, June Mar got really tired having to battle No. 51 (Bruno Caboclo) and No. 6 (Cristiano Felicio). Those were two guys who were ganging up on him and rotating on him. It was a tough battle for him being there by himself."

Gilas Pilipinas had hoped to break the country's 52-year Olympic drought in men's basketball, dating back to their last appearance in the 1972 Munich Games. They were just two wins away from qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics, needing victories against Brazil and the winner of the other semifinal pairing between Latvia and Cameroon (UPDATE: Latvia def. Cameroon, 72-59). However, following their loss to Brazil, Gilas Pilipinas did not qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics. Their OQT run was a gallant stand, having defeated the world No. 6 Latvia and narrowly losing by only two points to Georgia.

Gilas will be back in action in the next window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Qualifiers, facing New Zealand on November 21 and Hong Kong on November 24. [LIVE]

The scores:

BRAZIL 71 - Caboclo 15, Huertas 13, Dias 10, Y Santos 8, De Paula 8, Meindl 7, Louzada 3, G Santos 3, Benite 2, Felicio 2, Neto DNP, Cardoso DNP.

PHILIPPINES 60 - Brownlee 15, Ramos 13, Fajardo 10, Perez 10, Newsome 5, Aguilar 4, Tamayo 3, Oftana 0, Quiambao 0, Amos DNP, Sotto DNP.

Quarters: 12-22, 27-33, 51-39, 71-60. [HIGHLIGHTS] | [GAME STATS]

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