Another game meant another night of sloppy basketball for Gilas Pilipinas. The good thing is the team has been put out of its misery. 

With the 90-83 defeat, Philippines will exit the World Cup winless at 0-3. It felt on-brand too since the wheels fall of once again. They showed promise in the opener against the Dominican Republic but poorly executed in the clutch, then played flat against Angola, where they were fairly expected to win, while on Tuesday night, they just couldn’t keep up with the scorching Italy squad.

Utah Jazz guard and PH’s key man Jordan Clarkson led Gilas once more by scoring 23 points, albeit on an inefficient 8-of-20 shooting. He, and perhaps the gamplan, also tried getting others involved more by finding his teammates often, which resulted in six assists. In the end, though, it could only produce one other double-digit scorer: Dwight Ramos, who had 14 and only shot 5-of-13. Note Clarkson was the lone guy on the team to reach that mark in the previous contest.

There’s a long debate if Clarkson is always trying to do too much or if it’s plain overreliance by the coaching staff’s system. It can be tough to gauge, and the simple explanation is it’s a mixture of both. Set plays are almost non-existent and after-timeout calls go nowhere most of the time. As such, Clarkson will naturally have the ball more than others and will then try to create for himself as often as possible. It was evident in countless plays wherein JC wasn’t involved. The ball will either stop and whoever has it will take an ill-advised jumper or runner, or if it does get rotated, it will end up in a long, toughly contested three-pointer that usually bricked. We can probably say it has reflected on the box score, hence the one double-digit scorer not named Jordan Clarkson over the last two games.

But, of course, as mediocre as the Philippines was, Italy’s win is still through better and smarter play. It’s a good redeemer from the upset loss they suffered vs. the Dominican Republic.

Italy shared the offensive workload and kept rotating the ball over and over, as seen in having six players (Simone Fontecchio, Marco Spissu, Stefano Tonut, Nicolo Melli, Giampaolo Ricci, and Alexander Pajola) reach double figures and the team collectively having 24 assists – 16 came from Spissu and Melli, and two combined for more dimes than the entire Philippine team (14).

It also helps that these Sicily boys could shoot the lights out. They kept passing it around, sapping the defense’s energy, and whoever got the best look didn’t disappoint. The team fired off 17 three-pointers in total, with a handful coming at the most opportune time in the second half, which were backbreakers that helped put the nail in Gilas’s coffin. That hot shooting kept them at a comfortable distance despite PH’s last-ditch run in the final three minutes. 

And that’s that- Italy will now advance to the second round, while Philippines will turn into spectators.

While it’s frustrating for the diehard Pinoy hoop fans who are hungry for basketball glory, it’s yet another sign that changes are badly, badly needed, especially and particularly at the top.