Gilas Pilipinas routs Ivory Coast in friendly match before Fiba World Cup
Gilas Pilipinas, now playing at full strength, took down visiting Ivory Coast on Friday night, 85-62, in the first of its final three tune-up games geared towards the Fiba World Cup.
June Mar Fajardo was big in a third-quarter pull-away with his strong play rubbing off on the likes of Dwight Ramos, AJ Edu, Kai Sotto and Rhenz Abando who kept the Filipinos in control as the game plodded along at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Fajardo, the six-time PBA Most Valuable Player, finished with 13 points, tying Jordan Clarkson. Edu chipped in with 12 points while Scottie Thompson 11—showing no ill effects of his fractured right hand.
Sotto finished with 10 points, Ramos seven, Japeth Aguilar six, while Abando five as Chot Reyes and the rest of the Gilas brain trust sat out Calvin Oftana, Ray Parks Jr. and Thirdy Ravena.
Reyes has since said plans to pilot roster combinations in this series of friendlies that will also feature Montenegro and Mexico. Gilas plays the Montenegrins on Sunday and then the Mexicans on Monday.
Bazoumana Kone and Maxence Dadiet delivered 12 points each for the Elephants, ranked 42nd in the global Fiba rankings.
The win should help Gilas further simulate the African style of play, which should come in handy when it plays Angola in the group phase of the tournament that kicks off Aug. 25 at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan province.
Also bunched with Gilas are the Dominican Republic and World No. 10 Italy.
Ivory Coast, which arrived in Manila on Thursday, is in Group G with defending champion Spain, Brazil and Iran—Gilas’ old tormentor and a strong rival for that lone Asian ticket to the Paris Olympic Games.