The Rain or Shine-Philippines squad put up a valiant effort against the mighty Chinese National team but ran out of steam in the final seconds, falling in the preliminary round of the 2018 Asian Games.
Zhou Qi punished the Philippines in the first 20 minutes of the game, knocking down four three-pointers and rejecting six Filipino shot attempts. The Houston Rockets center paced his team with 25 points, while fellow seven-footer Wang Zhelin had 13.
With momentum on their side after Jordan Clarkson’s explosion in the third quarter, the Philippines entered the final canto down by only two points, 59-57.
But a strong fourth quarter by Abudshlamu Abudurexiti and crucial baskets by Zhao Rui propelled China past their pesky rivals, derailing the Philippines’ attempt to come out as leaders of Group D.
Clarkson was as good as advertised for the Philippines, finishing with a game-high 28 markers to go along with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in 31 minutes of play. But his costly foul with 13 seconds left turned out to be the deciding factor for the Chinese squad, as Rui calmly sank both charity shots, giving China the two-point lead. Paul Dalistan had the chance to win the game for the Philippines, but missed his three-point attempt in the ensuing possession.
Fil-German Christian Standhardinger had another strong showing in the Asian Games, tallying 18 points. He also showed off a much-improved stroke at the foul line, making 7 of his 8 total free throw tries. The team’s prolific backcourt of Stanley Pringle and Dalistan finished in double figures as well, notching 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Barring a meltdown from China in their game against Kazakhstan, the Philippines will most likely tangle with tormentors South Korea next in a do-or-die Quarterfinals match.