It was just too good a dream to come true. The supremely confident Chinese basketball squad outplayed our gallant Gilas warriors 78-67 to reclaim bragging rights as Asia’s Cage Kings, and in the process, gain an outright seat to the Olympic Basketball program next year in Brazil.
So devastating were the Chinese as they brought in wave upon wave of talents in its 9-game unbeaten run on the way to the crown. The game against Iran in the semis was a portent of things to come as they high-geared their transition game, leaving star center Hamed Ehadadi visibly exhausted and too tired to contribute on the offensive end.
In the final game against Gilas, China would deploy 2 7-footers simultaneously, making Andray Blatche’s life miserable under the paint. They also had 3 fresh guards rotating on Jason Castro, making Jason bleed for every single point he dished out. Simply put, China was just too big, too strong, too many and hence too much for the game, but totally outclassed Philippine Team.
The Philippines paraded a 2-3 zone at the start, to offset China’s huge 3-inch height advantage. They took an early 15-10 lead before Zhou Qi, only 19 years of age, started wreaking havoc from the top of the key. China never trailed after that, although Gilas had a lot of wasted opportunities in the 2nd half. While their defense was able to provide occasional stops, the Gilas offense just wasn’t there. In the end, the Chinese fresh troops would break down the Gilas defense.
But even in defeat, the Gilas team can raise their heads high. For despite the distractions, the absence of some quality players, the lack of preparation time, they were able to give a good account of themselves, even surprising many cage pundits by reaching all the way to the Finals, giving the host China a good fight, and making the country proud.
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Pics courtesy of Fibaasia.com