MANILA (Philippines) – Angola withstood the pressure of a boisterous crowd and an elimination game to defeat hosts Philippines 80-70 for their first victory at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
Angola knew they would be eliminated from contention for the Second Round with a loss but live to fight another day with a 1-1 record in Group A. The Africans got a balanced performance in front of a sold-out crowd of 12,784 at the Manila Araneta Coliseum in moving to 2-0 all-time against Philippines after previously beating the Asians 84-81 in overtime in the First Round of the 2019 World Cup.
Turning Point: Philippines opened the rare big lead as the home side were ahead 28-16 midway through the second quarter. Angola fought back and pulled ahead early in the third quarter, which went back and forth. Philippines were down just 58-54 but Angola reeled off a 10-1 spurt to open a 68-55 advantage.
The lead was 73-57 with under 4 minutes to play only to see the hosts score the next 11 points to get within 73-68. But Gerson Domingos drained the back-breaking three-pointer with 47 seconds left.
TCL Player of the Game: Angola had good balance in their team with four players scoring in double figures, and Gerson Goncalves was one of them with 17 points with 4 three-pointers to go along with 6 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block.
Stats Don’t Lie: Angola grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and drained 9 three-pointers while holding Philippines to just 18 percent on three-pointers.
Bottom Line: Angola remained alive in the fight for the Second Round with a 1-1 record in the group and a final showdown with Dominican Republic on Tuesday, August 29. Philippines still have faint chances to reach the next round and they must beat Italy later on Tuesday.
They Said: “Today we made 9 threes. My credit to all the players because we did not shoot well in the last game and all the preparation games. But they kept practicing. I can guarantee you that no one at this World Cup practiced more three-pointers than us. Today when they started hitting some, they started to see the basket a little bigger. But they deserve this.” – Angola coach Pep Claros
“We are just trying to do our best and make the right plays and then also limit them from scoring points and punish their mistakes. We want to feed off this one and get another one.” – Angola center Bruno Fernando
“It’s all about staying confident and staying together. We came here to fight. We knew that the game would be the way that it was. We just believed and stayed together and gave everything we had and trusted each other. Getting this win shows how we can play together and we can be proud of it. These guys put in a lot of work.” – Angola power forward Silvio De Sousa
“Today we were a team and know what we were facing. We believed from the beginning until the end. We feel great because we fought hard for this win. This means everything because we believe in ourselves. We knew it would be hard. Now we fight for the next game.” – Angola guard Childe Dundao
“We got off to a nice lead early but we knew that Angola was going to make a comeback. We got hammered on the boards, gave up 20 offensive rebounds and in the end, that was the story. We took care of the ball a lot better tonight but we just couldn’t make shots. 18 percent on three-pointers is not going to get it done. Basketball is a game of points and if you can’t put enough points on the board it’s hard to win.” – Philippines coach Chot Reyes
“We let one slip away. It’s hard to compete when you are done 7-8 points with 2 minutes to go. But at the end we gave ourselves a chance to come back but we came up short. Now we have to recover, forget about this and think about Italy.” – Philippines guard Kiefer Ravena
“This is a tough one to take. The crowd was great. We had a good start and we wanted to give them something to reward their loyalty and support. Unfortunately we fell short at the end. It was a good game but tough one to take.” – Philippines center AJ Edu