|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.
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