Gilas edges Taiwan Mustangs in exhibition

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Gilas edges Taiwan Mustangs in exhibition
Dwight Ramos
STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — Gilas Pilipinas is leaving the Philippines in high spirits after drubbing the Taiwan Mustangs, 74-64, in a send-off friendly match Monday night at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

Dwight Ramos paced the Philippines with 19 points, four steals and three rebounds. Justin Brownlee chipped in 12 markers, 15 dimes and five boards.

With Taiwan within striking distance in the third quarter after a Sam Deguara layup, 38-41, Gilas waxed hot and broke the game wide open with a 13-1 run capped by a Brownlee triple to go up by 15, 54-39.

A Robinson jumper cut the run, but June Mar Fajardo and Ramos gave the Philippines its biggest lead of the night, 58-41.

A 9-0 run by the Mustangs helped them inch closer to just eight, 50-58, with a Robinson triple, but Carl Tamayo, Japeth Aguilar and Brownlee scored in back-to-back-to-back possessions to keep Taiwan at bay, 64-50.

Six straight points by Miller towed the Mustangs back, but consecutive triples by Ramos and Mason Amos shut the door on any comeback attempt, 70-56, with 3:42 remaining.

Kai Sotto had nine points and nine rebounds for Gilas, but he missed five of his six free throws.

Oscar Lopez spearheaded Taiwan with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Former PBA champion Alex Cabagnot added 13 and seven, while Rashawn McCarthy provided 12.

Gilas will leave the country on Tuesday, a few weeks before the OQT tips off.

The Nationals will travel to Turkiye and Poland next as their preparation ramps up.

“It should be a good indication of where we are by the time we get to Riga. That’s the idea,” Gilas head coach Tim Cone said after the game. 

“They’re friendlies. We’re not going in depth in terms of our scouting or understanding of what they do, we’re locked into Latvia, we’re locked into Georgia, we’re gonna show up, we’ll look at a little bit of video and play just like we did today,” he added. 

The team will be facing Latvia and Georgia in the OQT for a chance to punch a ticket to the Paris Olympics early next month.

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