Nationals repeat over Ivory Cost
Gilas Pilipinas asserted its mastery over Ivory Coast, scoring a wire-to-wire 73-63 decision to wrap its Torneo de Malaga campaign on a winning note and snare a much-needed confidence boost going into the Fiba World Cup.
The Filipinos made the most out of a depleted cast, drawing a scintillating defensive performance that had the African side playing catch-up the entire game.
Rookie pro Robert Bolick led the way for Gilas for the second straight night, finishing with 19 points on a highly efficient 4-of-5 clip in the repeat victory over the Ivorians.
Andray Blatche had 18 points and 18 rebounds to help the Filipinos notch their third win in their four-game training camp in Spain.
“Coach Yeng [Guiao] was happy that we took better care of the ball. We had 18 turnovers against Congo and only seven against Ivory Coast,” Ryan Gregorio, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas special assistant to the president, said in a statement.
Gilas is nearing the tail end of its preparations for the global meet slated in China at the end of the month.
The team flies home on Tuesday and will resume workouts the following day.
Gregorio said that the Filipinos are staying in the Spanish city of Malaga for a couple of days to further build the team and improve its chemistry, applying necessary fine-tuning before they plunge into a series of friendlies in Manila.
Next up for the Filipinos are the Adelaide 36ers, an Australian club that Gilas plays on Aug. 23 and 25 at Meralco Gym in Ortigas.
“The trip presents a great opportunity for the 36ers’ new-look team to bond as a group, refine game plans and develop against a quality opponent,” Sixers CEO Ben Kavenagh said in a statement via the team’s website.
The match, though, will be closed to the public according to Gilas manager Gabby Cui.
The pair of friendlies marks the first time the Philippines and Australia will play after figuring in that infamous “basketbrawl” in the World Cup Qualifying last year in Bulacan.
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