eGilas shocks USA

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Before the eFIBA World Finals got underway in Sweden last weekend, eGilas played a pair of scrimmages with USA and scored a shocking win, 48-43. It was USA’s only loss in tournament games and scrimmages since the regional qualifiers were held enroute to the World Finals.

“The USA coaches told us we were the best team they played in the tournament,” said eGilas team manager Richard Brojan. “They were aiming to sweep the games and all the scrimmages. They were upset that we beat them.” In the scrimmage, Ice Alindada led eGilas with 14 points. LCB Banzon scored 11, Social Mallillin and DonPrich Diez eight apiece and Clue Gutierrez, seven.

In the World Finals, eGilas and USA faced off in the best-of-three semis. Game 1 was a thriller as eGilas raced to a 21-11 lead and held on to the driver’s seat, 21-15 at the turn. But USA eventually wore down the gritty Pinoys and won, 43-33. In Game 2, USA was relentless and cruised to a 67-33 romp. USA went on to blank France, 2-0, in the best-of-three finals while eGilas settled for fourth place after bowing to Turkey, 62-46 in a playoff for bronze. eGilas also lost to Turkey 53-41 in the elims.

The fourth place finish rewarded eGilas with a 4,000 Euro cash prize or the equivalent of about P243,000. USA took home 20,000 Euros, France 10,000 Euros and Turkey 6,000 Euros. No Filipino made it to the mythical five which was composed of USA’s Mason Bracken, Jeremy Seese and Artreyo Boyd, France’s Yacine Jemel and Turkey’s Eren Demirtas.

“Going to the Worlds, USA and Turkey on paper were ranked one and two,” said Brojan. “All the experts were expecting a USA-Turkey showdown in the finals. We saw how the international style of play is first hand. There are a lot of things USA, France and Turkey do that we have taken note of, playing styles that we can emulate and add to our playbook.” Brojan said he expects the eFIBA World Finals to be an annual event although it hasn’t been confirmed. “I’ve spoken to the organizers and there’s an interest in bringing the Worlds to Manila in the future,” he said. “Our guys will continue to play in local tournaments and leagues while we wait for Season 3 of eFIBA and the new NBA2K next year.”

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