Gilas, China fight to 79-all standoff in tuneup

Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — FIBA Olympic Qualification Tournament-bound Gilas Pilipinas and China played to a 79-79 standoff yesterday in their tuneup game at the AUF Gym in Pampanga.

The youth-laden Gilas crew had control most of the way but surrendered a late 8-1 run to the Chinese, including a buzzer-beating tip-in, to settle for the draw.

Twin towers Kai Sotto and Angelo Kouame led the Gilas scoring parade with 13 and 12, respectively, in the non-televised match that wrapped up the Nationals’ training camp for the OQT.

The Philippine quintet leaves for Serbia today for “Mission: Tokyo.”

Gilas coach Tab Baldwin will tap 12 from the pool that completed a 6-0 sweep of the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers for the acid test against Serbia and the Dominican Republic in the July 29-Aug. 4 OQT in Belgrade.

Jordan Heading matched Kouame’s 12 while RJ Abarrientos shot nine and Justine Baltazar and Will Navarro added eight apiece for Gilas against China.

Gilas actually led by as many as 10 in the first half, 39-29, and held a 78-71 cushion with 1:08 left.  But the Chinese finished the game strong to force the draw.

China, which stayed in Clark after the ACQ, will fly to Canada for a separate Tokyo qualifying tilt against Greece and the Canadians.

Meanwhile, though impressed with how the Gilas Pilipinas young guns passed their baptism of fire in the FIBA Asia Cup Qualifiers, national team legend Jimmy Alapag believes seasoned pros are still vital in making the side fully competitive down the road.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with