Gilas bows out of FIBA OQT as Brazil goes on 2nd half surge to take semis win

Bruno Caboclo had a splendid outing against Gilas. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Gilas Pilipinas' bid in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament ended on Saturday after Brazil came alive in the second half to win a 71-60 decision in their semifinal at the Arena Riga.

Gilas could not sustain a solid start anchored upon their defense as the Brazilians slowly got their way back up.

Gilas held Brazil to just 12 points in the first quarter and 27 at halftime as their defense was on point.

However, after conceding 22 in the first period, Brazil adjusted well on defense too, and held Gilas to just 11 in the second before turning things around with a 24-6 third quarter to take a 51-39 lead.

Gilas tried to mount a comeback after opening the fourth quarter with five straight points, but Brazil quickly doused cold water on the rally and never looked back.

Bruno Caboclo made 15 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, and three blocks for Brazil, which will face either Latvia or Cameroon in the final on Sunday.

Marcelinho Huertas added 13 points, one rebound, seven assists, and one steal.

Justin Brownlee, despite still top-scoring for Gilas, was held to only 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting and just three in the second half while playing through foul trouble.

Kai Sotto, who suffered a rib injury against Georgia on Thursday, suited up for the Brazil game but was eventually ruled out at the 11th hour.

The Philippines' drought in making the Summer Olympics men's basketball event has now been extended to 52 years following Gilas' elimination.

For now, the Philippine team to the Paris Olympics remains a 22-athlete contingent, but the final count will just be revealed next week as tracksters Kristina Knott and Eric Cray could eventually join pending withdrawals from those above them in the world rankings.

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