Gilas Pilipinas aired his frustration over the team’s turnovers that proved to be costly as Lebanon made sure to punish them on the other end en route to a disappointing 85-81 loss in the fourth window of the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers in Beirut early Friday, Aug. 26.

Chot Reyes (FIBA)

Reyes said he is proud of Gilas’ gallant stand against the Cedars although he admitted that the 21 turnovers they committed took the ultimate toll when they engaged Lebanon in a nip-and-tuck affair.

“We knew it’s gonna be a tough game, we knew it’s gonna be difficult because we’re playing the No. 2 team in the FIBA Asia Cup playing at home so we expected that it would be a big challenge and big battle for us but I’m very proud of how my team played,” said Reyes moments after the game.

“We battled hard, we competed, unfortunately we had too many turnovers. 21 turnovers was really the big difference in this ball game,” he added.

Boasting a lineup loaded with talents like NBA star Jordan Clarkson, 7-foot-3 Kai Sotto, and a bevy of PBA standouts and overseas imports, Gilas still came up short against the Cedars who leaned on the heroic performance of the Asia Cup MVP Wael Arakji.

Arakji pumped so much life to the rowdy crowd especially towards the endgame, scoring the last seven points for Lebanon to put the game away.

Playing with vengeance and determination to cut the recent strings of miseries, Gilas showed flashes of brilliance with a 17-7 start in the opening frame, a few blitzing runs spearheaded by Clarkson, Ramos and Sotto and some highlight buzzer beaters and dunks.

Clarkson and Ramos led the scoring with 27 and 18 points, respectively, while Sotto was solid with 10 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

The turnovers were one of the few chink on the armor of Gilas – something that according to Reyes, can only be fixed with a long preparation time.

“That’s just the result of us not yet familiar with each other as we’d like to be. If we get some more time, more practice together then we should be able to address,” explained the veteran coach who only had the benefit of one week of preparation and a couple of days of full practice before the fourth window.

“But like I said I’m very happy with the way we played. We gave it our best shot, unfortunately the results didn’t come out our way.”

Source: Manila Bulletin (