Iran claimed victory at the 27th FIBA Asia Championship

Gilas Pilipinas failed to win the most coveted crown of the 27th FIBA Asia Championship last night, August 11. 2013, they settled for Silver but without the gold accolade, the Philippine team is still a winner, garnering the top 2 spot in the international sport competition especially with the presence of tough players is not an easy task.

Congratulations national team players for making every Filipino very proud with your strong determination, energy, skill and effort! You are winners in every way and to all of us who rooted for you.

Despite the defeat, Gilas Pilipinas team and all the Filipinos have many reasons to celebrate, aside from garnering the top 2 spot (silver medal is still a win and it's not easy to reach the final 3), the national team is now qualified to play in the FIBA World Cup to be held in Madrid, Spain next year, 2014. A very rare opportunity for Filipino basketball players. The last time that the Philippine basketball team participated in this tournament was in 1978 more than 30 years ago. The Philippine team won the championship in 1985 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and was qualified to join the FIBA world cup in 1986 but due to political tensions (EDSA revolution) in the country at that time, the national team did not participate.

Gilas Pilipinas team with their silver medals

While watching the game on TV last night especially during the third quarter, I had an honest feeling that the national team would end up losing to  Iran, even at the very start, Gilas players were in no match to the robust Iranians.

With towering players from Iran, Gilas team scrambled to get a lead as they cannot penetrate better on the ring, they missed open jumpers and some free throws, the outside shooting was unsuccessful and they had the worst field goals since the game started last week.

Without Marcus Douthit, who was injured during their match with South Korea, Gilas players were in no match in built and height with Iranians, The tallest player of Gilas last night was only Japeth Aguilar who stands 6'9. But he was still dwarfed by Iran's center Hamed Haddadi who stands 7'2 and already played in the NBA. 

Halfway through the second quarter, Gilas surprisingly posted a 9-point lead against Iran but this was quickly eliminated when Iran key players fired successive three-point shots and made offensive rebounds. The Gilas was not able to get back to the lead and the final score at the conclusion of the game showed Iran leading by 14 points 85-71. Iran was the strongest team in this FIBA Asia tournament with zero loss and nine wins record.

Gilas player, Jayson Castro, who led the scoring of the national team that night with 18 points, though visibly disappointed, acknowledged the benefit of playing with Iran saying they were lucky to reach the final and faced Iran which was a good study point for next year's battle at FIBA world championship in Spain.

The recently concluded FIBA Asia showed how Filipinos unite in times of competition, how the spirit of love and support uplift the energy and determination of national players. From ordinary Pinoys to the top politicians in the country to celebrities to PBA star players past and present, everyone really united and rallied behind the national team. VIP's spectators include President Aquino and Vice President Binay, Senators Tito Sotto, Allan Peter Cayetano and JV Ejercito, boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, basketball legends Robert Jaworski, Freddie Webb among others.

It was indeed a wonderful night to every Filipino and for the national team. Congratulations to Iranian players who laboured hard to win the game and to all Asian teams that participated in this tournament.

Below is the list of the final standing of the teams that participated in this season of FIBA Asia (I got this list from Japeth Aguilar's facebook timeline, thank you Japeth!hehehe)

Gold - IRAN*
4th - Chinese Taipei
5th - China
6th - Qatar
7th - Jordan
8th - Kazakhstan
9th - Japan
10th - Hong Kong
11th - India
12th - Bahrain
13th - Saudi Arabia
14th - Thailand
15th - Malaysia

* = qualified for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain

Most Valuable Player (MVP) - Hamed Haddadi (Iran)

All-Star Team (Mythical Five) - Jayson Castro (PHL), Kim Mingoo (KOR), Lin Chih-Chieh (TPE), Sahakian (Iran), Hamed Hadadi (Iran)

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