Gilas Pilipinas upsets China in the Asian Games Semifinals | Who will the Philippines face in the Gold medal game?

Gilas Pilipinas upsets China to advance in the 19th Asian Games finals

Laban Pilipinas! The Philippines’ National Team a.k.a. Gilas Pilipinas made a huge upset against the defending champions, China, in the 19th Asian Games in their semifinals matchup. Subsequently, China hosted this year’s tournament but fell short of capturing the gold medal. After a miraculous victory over the Chinese, who will Gilas Pilipinas face in the finals?

Gilas Pilipinas will advance to the Asian Games Gold medal game for the first time since 1990

After a huge win over Iran, Gilas Pilipinas defeated China in another very close game, 77-76, thanks to the heroics of Justin Brownlee. The Philippines yet again escaped elimination after Brownlee and co. made a huge comeback late in the game. Gilas Pilipinas has been trailing China and seems to be struggling to take the lead. The host country was leading with nine points, 76-67, with three minutes left in regulation. However, with just about two minutes left in the fourth quarter, Gilas made a 10-point rally and never allowed any basket from the opponent. Brownlee was extremely clutch as he made 8 straight points (including back-to-back three-pointers) to seal the win.

The PBA three-time Best Import finished the game with an impressive 33 points, 4 assists, and 5 rebounds as he propels the Philippines over the hump. It was definitely a miraculous win after coming back from a 20-point deficit against the defending champs. Gilas Pilipinas stalwarts Scottie Thompson (13 points), CJ Perez (8 points), and June Mar Fajardo (8 points) also made a huge impact on the team. After this victory, the Philippines will be headed to their first Gold medal game since 1990. Even if they lose, they will be guaranteed a Silver medal finish.

Who will Gilas Pilipinas face in the Asian Games finals?

Surprisingly, Gilas Pilipinas will be facing off against the Rondae Hollis-Jefferson-led Jordan. The Asian Games finals will mark the second matchup for the Philippines and Jordan in the 19th Asian Games.

Gilas Pilipinas vs Jordan in the Asian Games gold medal game, Justine Brownlee vs Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Just last week, Hollis-Jefferson and Jordan were a force to reckon with as they won by a blowout against the Filipino stars, 87-62. It was an unforgettable night for the ranked 38th Gilas Pilipinas after they were humbled by the ranked 32nd Jordan. However, Justin Brownlee and Hollis-Jefferson will meet again in the Asiad finals as the Philippines will take on Jordan for the coveted Gold medal in the tournament. Coincidentally, both players currently play for the Philippine Basketball Association as imports. The game is scheduled for Friday, October 6, 2023.

“The Lefty Mamba”: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is an international star

After transferring from one league to another, Hollis-Jefferson was called up by Jordan and played for the nation in the World Cup as a naturalized player. In his first two games, Hollis-Jefferson averaged a jaw-dropping 31.5 ppg and even tallied a tournament-high 39 points against the New Zealand Tall Blacks. Wearing No.24, we can say he is channeling his inner Kobe.

Unfortunately, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and the country of Jordan would be in the same group as Greece, New Zealand, and the USA, which makes it very difficult for them to even advance to the second round. But, on the positive side, we saw how great Hollis-Jefferson played on the international stage. This brings us to the question …

Should Rondae Hollis-Jefferson be in the NBA again?

Hollis-Jefferson, 28, was drafted 23rd overall in 2015 by the Portland Trailblazers. Although his rookie season wasn’t exactly a great start, he slowly emerged into a good 3-and-D role player. His best season would be in 2017-2018 when he averaged 13.9 points, 2.5 assists, and 6.8 rebounds for the Brooklyn Nets

In 2021, the University of Arizona standout would play his last NBA game with the team that drafted him. Hollis-Jefferson would be called to a 10-day contract but was never guaranteed anything after that. Later, he would play overseas, like in Turkey, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines, and now as a member of the Jordan National team. Despite being quickly eliminated, we can’t deny how effective he played in the World Cup. His efficiency and overall output even topped other NBA players representing their respective countries.

Because of that, we could assume some NBA teams are already discussing taking another chance at Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. His skills are definitely perfect in today’s basketball, and he could be a great addition to any contender. We said the same about a former NBA player returning to the league after an impressive run overseas – Dante Exum. The former 2014 5th overall pick agreed to join the Dallas Mavericks after bringing a championship to the Partizan in the ABA league.

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