Gilas holds off Changwon in pre-Asian Games friendly

Justin Brownlee led Gilas in his return from a foot surgery. Joseph Sanvictores
By Ivan Saldajeno

CEBU CITY—Gilas Pilipinas turned to its defense in the end to pip Changwon, 86-81, in a tune-up game on Friday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

Gilas held the Sakers to just 14 points in the final period to stave them off despite their gallant fight led by former NBA player Dante Cunningham.

In his first game back from a bone spur surgery, Justin Brownlee struggled a bit but still led Gilas with 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block.

Interim coach Tim Cone said that his resident Ginebra import's sluggish performance was expected since he hadn't played for quite a while.

"You'll never judge an import by the first game he played," Cone said. "Justin got a little tired... I probably overplayed him. I shouldn't have him play that many minutes."

June Mar Fajardo added 16 points, one rebound, and three assists, while Calvin Oftana put up 13 points, 11 rebounds, and two assists.

Cone decided to activate late additions CJ Perez, Chris Ross, Arvin Tolentino, and Kevin Alas in the game instead of Calvin Abueva, Jason Perkins, Terrence Romeo, and Mo Tautuaa, whose eligibility remains under question for being not listed in the submitted Gilas pool.

Tolentino made nine points, Perez made eight, Alas had two, and Ross went scoreless in the game.

Marcio Lassiter, the injury replacement for RR Pogoy, also finished without a single point.

Cunningham made 18 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block for Changwon, which fell to 0-2 in their preseason tour in the Philippines counting the University of the Philippines' 88-85 win on Thursday behind the closed doors of The Upper Deck also in Pasig.

Justin Gutang hurt his ankle during the game and never returned, ending up scoreless in eight minutes of play but with two rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

Box Scores:

Philippines 86-Brownlee 19, Fajardo 16, Oftana 13, Thompson 11, Tolentino 9, Perez 8, Kouame 6, Alas 2, Aguilar 2, Ross 0, Newsome 0, Lassiter 0

Changwon 81-Cunningham 18, Marei 13, Lim 11, JD Lee 9, Yun 8, GH Lee 7, Yang 6, Jeong 6, AW Lee 3, Gutang 0, Jung 0

Quarterscores: 20-19, 47-39, 68-67, 86-81

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