MANILA, Philippines — Smart Gilas Pilipinas yielded to New Zealand national team, 76-77, Thursday in a highly-physical affair which concluded the Filipinos’ training camp Down Under.
Even the return of Marcus Douthit wasn’t enough to steer the Filipinos to a victory against the Tall Blacks, but head coach Chot Reyes noted that the naturalized center stood out.
“Lost to NZ [national] team, 76-77. Tall Blacks have only been practicing for 3 days & missing a couple guys. But we played well,” said Reyes on his Twitter account.
It was Smart Gilas Pilipinas’ third setback in sixth matches in their build-up in New Zealand, which serves as the final push ahead of the 2013 Fiba Asia Championships.
But despite the setback, Reyes saw that his players were able to bang bodies against the taller and seasoned big men of the New Zealand side.
“More importantly, we played physical — 2 of their guys bloodied, 1 limped off, all accidental of course,” he also said.
The day before its match against the tall Blacks, Smart Gilas Pilipinas routed SuperCity Rangers, 95-77, to get back on winning track after back-to-back losses.