Kiefer Ravena of Gilas Pilipinas during the Filipinos' game against the Australians on Thursday.

FIBA photo
Gilas struggles with free throws, turnovers in loss to Aussies
Denison Rey A. Dalupang ( - February 22, 2018 - 6:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas led Australia by five points in the first half of their game in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers’ second window Thursday.

But that’s the only time the Filipinos enjoyed being on the driver’s seat.

The Filipinos fell to the Australians, 84-68 in a well-attended game at the Margaret Court in Melbourne, Australia.

Gilas looked to be in control in the first two quarters, going neck-and-neck with their bigger foes. And they did that despite making only one of their seven freebies going into the half.
But that would prove costly as they entered the next 20 minutes of the game.

The 10th-ranked Australians banked on the one-two punch of Cameron Gliddon and Mitchell Creek to pull away in the third and to add to the Filipinos’ free throw struggles.

Gilas leaned on four-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo in the later part of the game but the lead was just too much to surmount. He finished with a team-best 15 points.

Naturalized big man Andray Blatche had an anemic showing, only registering eight points.

Roger Pogoy and Matthew Wright, sharpshooters in their own right, were only able to chime in nine and eight points, respectively.

Gilas was only able to score seven points from the charity stripe, while the Boomers made 25. The Filipinos trailed by as many as 18 points.

Chot Reyes and the squad are set to make a quick turnaround as they take on Japan at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.

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