Gilas still winless

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014


MANILA—Gilas Pilipinas took a 14-point lead early but failed to keep the momentum and lost a close one anew, 77-73, to Puerto Rico in Group B of the Fiba World Cup in Spain.

The loss means Gilas Pilipinas no longer has a chance to make it to the next phase as it lose all four games. The Philippines will still face Senegal today but will only be playing for pride and avoid the embarrassment of exiting the Fiba World Cup without a single win.

Against Puerto Rico, it seemed the Philippines was set to finally end the disappointing string of losses, taking the lead in the first quarter, 25-13. In the second, Gilas extended the lead to 14, 29-15 before Puerto Rico started fighting back.

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Alexander Galindo cut it to eight, 29-21, before Jimmy Alapag and Andray Blatch hit their shots for 34-21.

However, Puerto Rico started getting closer thanks to Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jose Barea, who started a run to make it 44-39 at halftime.

The Philippines went gun-shy in the third, allowing the Puerto Ricans to outscore them 22-13 and Gilas Pilipinas lost their five point lead and trailed by five, 64-59, going into the fourth.

The Philippines managed to fight back and take the lead, 70-67, but Barea drilled a trey to even the count in the final two minutes and four free throws for a 74-70 lead with 34 seconds left.

Gilas got a lease of life after Alapag was fouled while taking a three-point shot.

The nifty guard drilled all three free throws, for 75-73, but the Philippines failed to get another shot, while Puerto Rico scored the final two points off the free throw line.

Blatche led the Philippines with 25 points, while LA Tenorio had 18 and Paul Lee contributed 10 off the bench. Barea led Puerto Rico with 30.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 04, 2014.

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