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Argentina Escapes with 85-81 Win Against Gilas

By Ivan Saldajeno

Gilas Pilipinas' comeback from 15 points down fell short as Argentina subdued the Filipino squad, 85-81,  in Day 3 of the FIBA World Cup in Seville, Spain.

Gilas actually led by as much as ten, the last at 32-22, early into the second quarter before Argentina surged ahead later in the period to take a 43-38 halftime lead.

Argentina looked to pull away early into the third frame as its lead went up to seven, 48-41, but a 10-3 Philippine run tied the game, 51-all, later in the quarter.

The Argentinians then opened a 17-2 run to go up by 15, 68-53, but Jimmy Alapag began to catch fire from three-point land to help trim the lead to ten, 71-61, at the end of the third period.

Alapag and Ranidel De Ocampo opened the fourth frame with eight unanswered points to come to within two, 69-71.

Nicolas Laprovittola and Marcos Mata fired back-to-back triples to increase Argentina's lead to eight, 77-69.

Gilas clawed back again, and another Alapag triple cut its deficit to three, 76-79, with 5:06 remaining in the game.

Mata responded with a triple, but five straight Philippine points cut the Argentinian lead further to one, 82-81, with 2:09 remaining.

Andray Blatche almost bailed Gilas out off a broken play as his heave from way beyond the arc just rimmed out.

Pablo Prigioni and Andres Nocioni saved the ensuing Argentinian possession with crucial offensive rebounds before Marc Pingris fouled the latter. Nocioni split his free throws, giving Gilas a chance to tie.

In the next play, however, Jayson William turned the ball over as Nocioni's tight defense forced him to travel.

Nocioni finally sealed the win with two free throws on the other end.

Luis Scola played through foul trouble and scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out four assists for Argentina. Mata added 17 points and nine rebounds.

De Ocampo led Gilas with 18 points on 7/14 shooting and five rebounds, while Alapag added 15 points all from three-point range.

Blatche, also hobbled by foul trouble early on, still made 14 points, 15 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.

Box Scores:

Argentina 85-Scola 19, Mata 17, Laprovittola 10, Herrmann 10, Nocioni 9, Campazzo 9, Prigioni 8, Gutierrez 3

Philippines 81-De Ocampo 18, Alapag 15, Blatche 14, William 11, Norwood 6, Fajardo 6, Dalistan 6, Tenorio 3, Aguilar 2, Pingris 0, Chan 0\

Quarterscores: 22-25, 43-38, 71-61, 85-81
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