HWASEONG, South Korea - Ranidel de Ocampo scored a team-high 25 points as Gilas Pilipinas wore down a hot-starting Mongolia side, 84-68, on Wednesday to finish a disappointing 2014 Asian Games campaign on a winning note.
De Ocampo pumped life into Gilas' sputtering offense after Mongolia opened an early 12-point lead then put the final touches to what was only the Filipinos' third win in seven games in a failed bid for the gold medal.
The victory, however, gave Gilas no more than seventh place - still the worst finish by a Philippine basketball team in this quadrennial event since it ruled the inaugural staging back in 1951.
“It’s good to end with the win but the reality is we weren’t able to deliver on the expectations,” said national coach Chot Reyes after the win. “The entire plan was to play in the semifinals today. But that’s sports. That’s the nature of it. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
“We won in the Jones Cup. We (placed second) in the Fiba-Asia. We set the record in the worlds but we didn’t deliver in the Asian Games. So the only thing left is to look forward and learn from lessons here,” Reyes added.
LA Tenorio, Gabe Norwood, and June Mar Fajardo finished with 11 points each for Gilas, which played without sparkplug Jimmy Alapag and Marc Pingris and had to endure a scoreless outing by Marcus Douthit.
The Filipinos, however, wrested control towards the end of the fourth quarter and - unlike in successive losses to Iran, South Korea, and Qatar - stood their ground in the final quarter.
Mongolia, which came all the way from the qualifiers to reach the quarterfinal phase, was only within three points, 49-52, when De Ocampo triggered a run that opened a 63-55 lead for Gilas at the end of the third quarter.
De Ocampo also had 11 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
The lead only got bigger and bigger from there as Tenorio, Norwood and Fajardo joined the fray. Norwood's follow-up dunk off a Fajardo miss put the exclamation point to the win, 84-65, with a minute left to play.
The Philippines regained its form after surprisingly trailing 16-4 to Mongolia in the first quarter.
Gilas ended the second quarter with a 13-1 run to take the lead at the half, 38-30, with Fajardo scoring five in the run. Mongolia was able to cut the deficit to two points but Gilas answered back with an 8-0 blast to regain control, 60-49.
Philippines (84) – De Ocampo 25, Tenorio 11, Norwood 11, Fajardo 11, Chan 8, David 8, Aguilar 7, Dillinger 3, Douthit 0, Lee 0.
Mongolia (68) – Battuvshin 18, Tungalag 15, Otgonbaatar 11, Shinen 11, Ganbold 6, Davaasambuu 4, Oyuntsetseg 3, Munkhbayar 0, Munkhtur 0, Tserendagva 0.
Quarterscores: 18-21, 38-30, 63-55, 84-68.