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Puerto Rico Eliminates Gilas Pilipinas

By Ivan Saldajeno

Puerto Rico defeated the Philippines, 77-73, in an eliminator in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Seville, Spain.

With both teams needing the win to keep their hopes to make the Top 16 alive, the Puerto Ricans toppled the Filipinos in the second half thanks to an explosion from JJ Barea.

Gilas Pilipinas actually went up, 25-13, after the first quarter, but Puerto Rico slowly crawled back and cut the lead to five, 44-39, by halftime.

Puerto Rico then outscored Gilas, 22-13, in the third period to take a 61-57 lead entering the final canto.

Gilas, however, still gave a fight and eventually retook the lead, 70-67, with 3:38 left after a three-pointer from Andray Blatche.

Barea then nailed a trey of his own and tied the game anew, 70-all, a minute and a half later.

After both teams fired blanks and committed costly turnovers in the next minute, Barea scored a quick layup with 51 seconds left to put Puerto Rico up, 72-70.

Ranidel De Ocampo then missed a potential game-tying jumper in the next play.

In the ensuing possession, Barea made two free throws after a Gabe Norwood foul to up the Puerto Rican lead to four, 74-70.

L.A. Tenorio missed a long tom at the other end, and former PBA import Renaldo Balkman secured the rebound, leading to two more free throw tries for Barea.

Barea, however, split his charities, giving Gilas another chance.

Jimmy Alapag drew a foul from Balkman while taking a three in the next play. Alapag made all three free throws to cut Puerto Rico's lead to two, 75-73.

Ricky Sanchez, however, sealed the Puerto Rican win with two free throws on the other end.

Barea sizzled for 30 points and five rebounds for Puerto Rico, while Sanchez and David Huertas each added 13 points.

Andray Blatche led the Filipinos with 25 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and a steal. Tenorio, who was quiet in Gilas' first three games, added 18 points.

Gilas' last assignment in the group phase will be against Senegal tomorrow.

Box Scores:

Puerto Rico 77-Barea 30, Sanchez 13, Huertas 13, Rivera 5, Galindo 5, Diaz 4, Franklin 3, Balkman 2, Clement 2

Philippines 73-Blatche 25, Tenorio 18, Dalistan 10, Norwood 6, Alapag 6, William 4, De Ocampo 2, Pingris 2, Chan 0, Fajardo 0

Quarterscores: 13-25, 39-44, 61-57, 77-73
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