Gilas Pilipinas bows down to Republic of Congo in pocket tournament

Rookie Robert Bolick lead the Gilas Pilipinas in their match against the Republic of Congo at the start of the 4-country pocket tournament held in Malaga, Spain. SBP
By Xy-Zha Cabanlong

Manila, Philippines - Gilas Pilipinas takes the beating of Republic of Congo at the start of the pocket tournament which Spain hosts in Malaga; 82-71, Friday night (Saturday morning, Philippine time).

The Philippine 5 dictated the game in the first half with Andray Blatche scoring the back to back triples, giving the Filipinos an early 4-point lead, 6-2 to set the pace of the game in the opening quarter.

Gilas Pilipinas went on to lead by as much as 6 points in the opening quarter alone, through the efforts of Blatche, Japeth Aguilar and Poy Erram. First quarter closed out with the Philippines ahead of Congo; 21-18.

The Filipinos continued on dominating the game in the second quarter as Bolick scored 6 straight points - from a free throw and two field goals to push the advantage to 8 points; 28-20.

From trailing by as much as 9 points, Republic of Congo was able to trim the Philippines's advantage to only a point; 32-33 at halftime, through a basket coming from Mutuale.

Coming off the halftime break, Bolick opened up the scoring in the 3rd Quarter, giving the Filipinos a 3-point advantage; 35-32.

Kayembe and Mvouika combined forces to score a total of 8 points to give Congo a 4-point lead; 41-37.

Gilas was able to regain the lead through Perez's trip to the free throw line, earning a shaky 2-point lead; 45-43 only to fall into a deadlock at 45-all at the resumption of play as Kayembe hit the equaliser.

Third quarter closed in with the African dribblers ahead by 3; 58-55.

The final canto opened up with a 3-0 run coming from Congo, extending the lead to 7; 62-55.

Bolick was able to convert points from the free throw line and eventually sank a triple off an assist coming from Paul Lee to cut the advantage to only 3 points; 60-63 but Congo was able to score a counter-attack, extending the lead back to 6; 66-60.

From then on, the Filipinos struggled to recover as they trailed as much as 17 points and enduring a huge blow as Bolick fouled out of the game.

Aguilar's trip to the free throw line had been the last stand for Gilas Pilipinas as he scored 2/2 on the line to cut the lead down to 11; 82-71.

Bolick finished off with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist while Blatche made 15 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Perez garnered 11 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Follow her on Twitter: @_ichbinxyzha