|Michael Linklater broke Gilas' hearts. Nikki Collantes|
By Ivan Saldajeno
BOCAUE--Canada held off a gritty Gilas Pilipinas side, 20-19, in the penultimate day of the FIBA 3x3 World Cup at the Philippine Arena on Monday.
The Canadians, who led for most of the contest, survived a late rally by Gilas anchored by an explosion from RR Pogoy as the latter was knocked out of playoff contention in the most heartbreaking of ways.
Canada led by as much as seven, 9-2, midway into the game, but Gilas began catching fire down the stretch.
Eventually, Pogoy hit back-to-back deuces and made two free throws with 1:14 to go to put Gilas up, 18-16.
However, Canada dropped three straight points to regain the lead, 19-18.
Chris Standhardinger forced the deadlock with a layup off a post move in the next play, but Michael Linklater scored the game-winning layup with 4.2 seconds left for Canada.
Pogoy had one more chance to steal the win, but his two-point try was challenged enough as time expired as Canada locked in a seat in the playoffs on Independence Day Tuesday.
Gilas will play Russia later Monday in its swan song in the tournament.
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