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Strong Q3 pushes Montenegro past Gilas

Gilas Pilipinas and Montenegro take a photo together after their closed-door game. Basketball Federation of Montenegro
By Ivan Saldajeno

MAKATI--Montenegro showed Gilas Pilipinas why they are a cut among the rest right now in international basketball after scoring a 102-87 win in their closed-door tune-up game ahead of the FIBA World Cup on Sunday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

Montenegro banked on a strong third quarter to pummel Gilas, who actually stayed close to them in the first half.

Gilas led at the end of the first quarter, 19-16, with Dwight Ramos sizzling early with eight points in the said period.

However, as the offense picked up in the second quarter, especially Jordan Clarkson, who tallied 12 in the said period, Montenegro became more efficient and entered halftime ahead, 44-42.

Montenegro broke away in the third quarter, outscoring Gilas, 32-22, before sealing the win with a better showing again than Gilas in the fourth.

NBA All-Star Nikola Vucevic led Montenegro with 18 points, nine rebounds, one assist, and two blocks, while team captain Bojan Dubljevic added 16 points, three rebounds, and three assists.

Clarkson finished with 27 points, 18 in the first half, two rebounds, five assists, and one steal for Gilas, which is now 1-1 in their three-game stretch in a span of four nights.

Coach Chot Reyes only left Chris Newsome out from the Gilas team that beat Ivory Coast on Friday night, replacing him with Calvin Oftana. Oftana went scoreless in four and a half minutes with only one rebound and one turnover to show.

Box Scores:

Montenegro 102-Vucevic 18, Dubljevic 16, Perry 15, Mihailovic 12, Radovic 9, Radoncic 8, Ivanovic 7, Popovic 6, Slavkovic 5, Simonovic 4, Ilic 2, Drobnjak 0

Philippines 87-Clarkson 27, Fajardo 19, Ramos 13, Thompson 8, Edu 6, Abando 5, Aguilar 5, Malonzo 4, Oftana 0, Ravena 0, Perez 0, Pogoy 0, Sotto 0

Quarterscores: 16-19, 44-42, 76-64, 102-87

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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