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Gallant Gilas falls to Australia

Calvin Abueva slipped on the floor while going for a layup. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Australia showed Gilas Pilipinas why it is the number one team in the newly-formed FIBA Asia-Pacific region with an 84-68 rout at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne on Thursday night.

It was a tale of two halves as Gilas actually put up a fight with Australia for most of the first half only to fizzle out down the stretch.

Behind a tough defense, Gilas limited Australia to just 19 points in the first quarter and even opening the second on a 7-2 run to take a 26-21 lead to the delight of the Filipino fans, who surprisingly made up majority of the attendance.

Australia, however, began catching fire later in the second quarter and eventually pulling away for good late in the third quarter.

Cameron Gliddon led Australia, which swept the first round of the double round robin first phase of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and one steal.

Angus Brandt chipped in 13 points, while Mitchell Creek and Kevin Lisch added 12 markers apiece.

Junemar Fajardo led Gilas, which will host Japan at the start of the second round of the first phase at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Sunday night, with 15 points, two rebounds, and one steal, but he had to deal with foul trouble the rest of the way.

Australia succeeded in limiting Andray Blatche as the naturalized center only made eight markers, seven rebounds, two blocks, and one assist.

Abu Tratter, the lone member of the "23 for '23" cadets pool that was activated for the game, made two points and one steal in his Gilas debut.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno