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Philippines scores massive upset win over Latvia in FIBA OQT

How’s that for shocking the world?

The Philippine men’s national basketball team scored a monumental triumph in their first game at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Latvia by leading wire-to-wire against the home team, 89-80, on Wednesday.

Despite coming in as the 37th-ranked team in the world by FIBA, Gilas was the aggressive team early and maintained control of their lead during Latvia’s late charge in the fourth quarter to defeat the sixth-ranked squad and put themselves in a good position to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.

Photo: FIBA

Justin Brownlee spearheaded Gilas’ attack with a near triple-double of 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists. His big shots late in the final period prevented Latvia from completing a 26-point comeback. Kai Sotto was also solid with 18 points on 70% shooting to go with 8 boards, while Dwight Ramos contributed 12 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists.

As a team, the Philippines hit 48% from the field while limiting Latvia to just 38%. NBA player Davis Bertans was held to just 10 points on 2-of-8 shooting as his squad sorely missed the injured Kristaps Porzingis.

Photo: FIBA

Gilas’ next game is in 18 hours against Georgia, which lost by 28 to Latvia a day prior. The top two of their group will make the next round. Although still far from certain, the Philippines took a step forward in achieving their goal of securing a ticket to the 2024 Paris Olympics by defeating Latvia.

Photos courtesy of FIBA.

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