by Rey Joble
JAKARTA — It sounds cliche but the old adage “winning isn’t everything” best sums up the Rain or Shine-Pilipinas’ gallant effort against perennial Asian Games gold medalist China in their thrilling group stage match on Tuesday at the GBK Basketball Stadium here.
“I consider it a win and I told the guys na lumaban sila and I couldn’t ask anything more from them. It was just the breaks of the game — and the officiating,” head coach Yeng Guiao told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview. “But more or less, it’s a great game and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved.”
The Filipinos trailed most of the way, battled back and even had a chance of winning down the stretch. They were leading, 78-75, inside the final two-minute mark and had a chance of putting away the Chinese but JP Erram missed a point blank range and Stanley Pringle had a costly turnover. That allowed the Chinese to get back into the game.
The score was knotted at the last time at 80 apiece, but Jordan Clarkson committed a foul and that set up Zhao Rui for a pair of charity shots that gave the lead for China. Paul Lee had a chance to win the game for the Philippines just like what he did four years ago in the FIBA Asia Challenge Cup. But his triple, which appeared to be in good line, bounced out strong, allowing China to escape with the win.
“The game plan was to keep the game close and probably we can win it in the end. It almost happened. Kung pumasok lang yung tira ni Paul Lee panalo tayo. Sa tingin ko papasok eh. Nung nasa area ko yung ibinato niya eh. Nung ibinato niya ang sabi ko pasok, pero nagmintis,” added Guiao. “But those are the breaks of the game.”
For a team that was built for two weeks and battle China toe-to-toe, Guiao still feels proud of what the team is achieving so far. “This team was built two weeks ago. There were a lot of issues, but now, nakalimutan n yun. Kasi maganda yung inilalaro ng nga bata,” Guiao said.
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