That Olympic dream will have to wait yet again.
The Tall Blacks, led by the Webster brothers—Tai and Corey—and forwards Isaac Fotu and Thomas Abercrombie, started strong, building as much as a ten-point lead in the first half behind the efficient playmaking of Tai Webster, the hot shooting of Corey Webster, and a suffocating man-to-man ddefense.
New Zealand then seized control after halftime, pouncing on a lackadaisical, if not completely lethargic, Gilas squad to extend the lead to 13 at the midway point of the third canto. The Webster brothers again led the way as New Zealand seemingly scored at will inside, outside, and even in-between. Tai Webster punctured the Gilas defense time and again with daredevil drives even as his brother, Corey, nonchalantly stepped into open threes off of pick-and-rolls. The duo of Fotu and Abercrombie provided additional firepower, swishing open jumpers off of beautifully executed plays.
But as they did against France, Gilas again fought back led by naturalized center Andray Blatche and point guard Jayson Castro. But again, just like last night, Gilas could not complete the comeback as the Tall Blacks showed the same type of poise shown before by the Les Bleus of France. Timely buckets from the Webster brothers and Thomas Abercrombie finished off Team Pilipinas, in the process breaking the basketball hearts of millions of Filipinos yet again.
And just like that, this journey, filled with so much hope and so much promise, is now officially over.
Yes, that Olympic dream remains just that—a dream.
More Gilas Photos at Gilas Pilipinas vs New Zealand Photo Gallery
Martin is a copy editor for the University Press of First Asia. He is an avid sports fan. He used to keep a sports blog at http://pinoysportsnet.blogspot.com/.