Jason William of Gilas Pilipinas
Jason William of Gilas Pilipinas during the finals against China / Photo Courtesy of FIBA.com/asia/2015

The road has never been easy for Gilas, especially for Coach Tab Baldwin. When he started the process of selecting the players who would be part of the roster, he had faced many obstacles. But despite all those troubles, the roster has been completed. Gilas 3.0 was finally formed.

With 2 months or so left for training before the FIBA Asia 2015 started on September 23, the players and the coaches had to make the most of their time. Training involved playing in the Jones Cup held at Taiwan where they won silver and the MVP Cup held in our country.

Gilas’ first test in the FIBA Asia 2015 was against Palestine. Our team led most of the game but the game ended in the opponent’s favor. First test: failure. Then came the games against Hongkong and Kuwait where we won with huge leads. Then came the game against Iran. Gilas, since 2012 (without Haddadi) or 2011 (with Haddadi), has not been able to win against one of Asia’s powerhouse teams. But finally, on that fateful day of Sept. 28, Gilas beat Iran AND with a double-digit lead (87- 73). After that, our team beat Japan and India to lead their group to get the spot for the quarterfinals.

In the QF, we beat Lebanon, 82–70. Gilas then faced Japan in the Semi-finals stage of the tournament that was held yesterday, October 2. In that game though, Gilas didn’t start out great. Japan led mostly in the first half. On the 3rd quarter, after leading as much as 8, Japan bounced back and tied at the end of that quarter. But, thanks to the team’s 3-pointers we were able to snatch the game and ended up winning 81–70.

Today, October 3, we faced China for the championship. And sadly, our team lost. Gilas only led at the beginning of the 1st quarter then the rest were taken over by the Chinese. China remained unbeaten in the tournament with their highly skillful and tall players. Our players had missed many shots due to the pesky defense of the Chinese players. Add to that the many calls that did not go Gilas’ way. Rebounds were surely in their favor as well, although, our players did try their best to out-smart them. The game ended with the score of 78–67.

Gilas will now have to overcome the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament on July of next year to qualify for Rio Olympics 2016. The journey continues.

For more photos and videos of the recently concluded FIBA Asia 2015 Championship click HERE.