MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas Youth has one last chance to keep its campaign going in the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece.
One last, minuscule chance.
After absorbing a 26-point loss at the hands of Russia to end the group phase – which put the Philippines at the bottom of Group C with a 0-3 record – the Filipino youngsters must now defeat Serbia, the world No. 4 U19 team, at the Round of 16 knockout round at 6:15 pm on Wednesday, July 3 (11:15 pm, Wednesday, July 3, Philippine time).
If Gilas Youth pulls off a major upset, the Philippines will advance to the quarterfinals, where either world No. 3 Lithuania or 10th-ranked Australia awaits.
Another loss means that Gilas Youth will be relegated to the classification stage, the same place where its predecessors 40 years ago got its first win.
Without the injured AJ Edu anchoring the defense, Gilas Youth looked completely exposed against the relentless Russian dunkers and snipers. However, the Edu-less Gilas almost handed 9th-ranked Argentina an upset loss in the group stage, which is still something they should hold on to.
Now more than ever, Kai Sotto, Dave Ildefonso and Carl Tamayo need their teammates to show up and take charge. As proven by the loss against Russia, individual talent alone cannot beat a cohesive unit.
The window has all but closed for Gilas Youth and their title aspirations. Is a miracle in the works or will the Serbians drive the final nail in the coffin?
Follow live updates of the game below:
Philippines vs Serbia - Curated tweets by RapplerSports