By Ernesto Nodado III

PHOTO: FIBA Basketball

Gilas Pilipinas failed to have a taste of a coveted medal at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup, absorbing a tightly-contested 20-18 loss to China in the men’s bronze medal match in Singapore, Sunday.  

Almond Vosotros fell flat in bailing out the Philippines anew as he missed the game-tying two-pointer with six seconds left, bidding a heartbreaking goodbye to the country's historic run in FIBA 3x3.

Gilas settled at fourth place, posting its best stint in the tournament, after overcoming their 2013 quarterfinals loss to Qatar.

In the pool phase, the team of Vosotros, Rodel De Leon, Lervin Flores, and Joseph Eriobu suffered a beatdown from the Chinese with a 21-11 rout. 

But the blue-shirts failed to exact revenge despite Vosotros pouring out 8 points and 5 rebounds, and Joseph Erioubu putting up 5 markers in the battle-for-third.

With two minutes left, De Leon’s floater trimmed the deficit to one for the Philippines after a hot-handed shooting from Vosotros early on, 17-16.

China looked to pull away with their 3-0 run capped by Zeyi Liu's lay-up off a well-executed play at 41.8 seconds, 20-16.   

But Gilas kept within distance this time from Flores, who fired a high-arcing two with 36 seconds left to cut their deficit to 20-18.

The Philippines had an opportunity to rise from the jaws of defeat at 27.4 seconds after China's turnover, but Vosotros misfired a fadeaway two-point shot that could have set a deuce.

Despite the missed shot, Gilas went on a pesky defensive stop on China’s next possessions, fighting through grit in hopes to carry out a miracle.

With 6.3 ticks remaining, that miracle vanished when Vosotros could not put the game at deadlock after a key steal.

Liyu led the way for China’s bronze medal capture with 9 points and 7 rebounds in their tight win.

Edited by Jostle Doen Pilayre