Gilas now a global contender

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Gilas now a global contender
Gilas Pilipinas

MANILA, Philippines — It took only three games in the recent Latvia FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament for world No. 37 Gilas to be recognized as a serious contender in global basketball, beating world No. 6 Latvia and losing winnable decisions to world No. 12 Brazil and world No. 23 Georgia.

The stats explain why. In the tournament, Gilas wound up No. 1 in average points (81), field goal percentage (.492), three-point field goal percentage (.468) and efficiency per game or EFFPG, measured by adding production stats (points, rebounds, assists, blocks), subtracting all missed field goals and free throws and turnovers then dividing by games played, 95. Coach Tim Cone’s squad was also No. 2 in rebounds (39.7), two-point field goal percentage (.504) and blocks (3.7). Gilas finished No. 3 in assists (18) but on the downside, was No. 1 in average turnovers (17.3).

Four players never missed a free throw. Justin Brownlee shot 11-of-11, Dwight Ramos 4-of-4, Kai Sotto 3-of-3 and Japeth Aguilar 2-of-2. Six players hit at least 40 percent from three. Sotto went 1-of-1, CJ Perez 4-of-6, Carl Tamayo 2-of-4, Kevin Quiambao 1-of-2, Ramos 8-of-19 and Brownlee, 14-of-23. Shooting at least 50 percent from the field were Perez at .684, Sotto at .600 and June Mar Fajardo at .579. The top rebounders were Brownlee (8.3), Fajardo (7.3) and Ramos (5.0) while leading the team in assists were Brownlee (6.3), Ramos (3.7) and Chris Newsome (2.3).

Brownlee led the tournament in scoring with a 23.0 clip. Among the top 20 scorers were No. 14 Sotto (11.0), No. 16 Perez (10.0) and joint No. 18 (with Latvia’s Arturs Zagars and Brazil’s Lucas Dias) Newsome (9.3). Brownlee was No. 1 in average minutes played (38.3) and efficiency per game (27), joint No. 1 (with Cameroon’s Jeremiah Hill) in assists (6.3) and No. 2 in most free throws made without a miss (11). Brownlee was named to the tournament’s All-Star Five with Brazil’s Bruno Caboclo and Leo Meindl, Latvia’s Rihards Lomazs and Hill. FIBA described Brownlee as “absolutely epic in the competition, a beast in every way on the floor (and) the inspiring factor for Gilas.”

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