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Brazil-Philippines to face off in Fiba competition

TO realize Gilas Pilipinas’ dream of reaching the Olympics for the first time in 52 years, the team must accomplish a mission it has never accomplished before: defeat Brazil.

The Philippines met Brazil in the semi-finals of the FIBA ​​Olympic Qualifying Tournament after a wild and confusing group stage in Riga, Latvia.

It is only the fifth time that the two countries have played against each other. The last four times it was the Brazilians who won.

Gilas coach Tim Cone was not yet born when the two countries first met at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland.

In Group C, Brazil, led by the quartet of Zé Luiz, Alfredo da Motta, Angelim and Algodão and coached by Manoel Pitanga, won 71-52 against the Philippines. Carlos Loyzaga and Ponciano Saldana each scored 14 points for the team coached by Fely Fajardo. Brazil finished sixth in the tournament, while the Philippines tied for 9th place.e up to 16e places in the field of 23 teams.

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Two years later, the two countries found themselves in the same position during the 1954 Fiba World Championship in Rio de Janeiro.

The Brazilians put on a show for their home fans at Ginásio do Maracanãzinho, jumping to a 44-22 halftime lead and completing the 99-62 rout with Angelim’s 18 points. Lauro Mumar led the Filipinos with 22 points in the loss, though both teams still advanced to the final round of the tournament.

caloy loyzaga 1954 team

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They would meet again a week later and although the Philippines performed better, Brazil still managed to pull out a 57-41 victory. Almir led Brazil with 15 points, which was matched by Loyzaga who led the Nationals.

It turned out to be a virtual battle for silver after the Kirby Minter-led USA cruised to a 7-0 victory in the final round for the Americans’ first world title. Brazil trotted out a 6-1 card to claim silver behind legends Algodão and Wlamir Marques, while the Philippines finished 5-2 for bronze behind All-Tournament Team member Loyzaga.

To this day, it remains the country’s – and the whole of Asia’s – only podium finish in the now-renamed World Cup.

It has been more than twenty years since the two teams met again, this time the Philippines were looking for redemption on their home court for the 1978 Fiba World Championship in Manila.

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The RP team, led by Nic Jorge, had pinned its hopes on the leadership of Ramon Cruz, who was the team’s top scorer with 16.8 points, as well as Steve Watson, Bernardo Carpio, the late Alex Clarino and Padim Israel.

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As hosts, the Philippines also automatically qualified for the semi-finals, along with reigning champions the Soviet Union, who won the cup in 1974.

However, those hopes proved unfulfilled as Oscar Schmidt, Marcel, Marquinhos Leite and the rest of Brazil took control in the second half, scoring another 60 points in the final two innings for a 119-72 victory.

Brazil, who went 5-2, defeated Italy in the bronze medal game, 86-85, for their last Fiba World Cup medal to this day. The Philippines, meanwhile, stumbled to a seven-game winless streak before suffering a 92-74 loss to Australia in the seventh-place playoff.

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Oscar Schmidt

Forty-six years later, the two countries meet again.

Justin Brownlee, Dwight Ramos and June Mar Fajardo carry the country’s hopes as Gilas continues to pursue his Olympic dream.

But once again the Brazilians stand in their way, with Bruno Caboclo, Yago Santos and the ageless Marcelinho Huertas.

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Can Gilas Pilipinas find a way to do the improbable again?

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