Gilas suffers blowout loss to Italy in tuneup game
MANILA, Philippines - By the time the Philippine national basketball team's tuneup match against Italy had gotten started, it was almost over already.
Gilas Pilipinas had a nightmarish start to its pocket tournament in Bologna, Italy, suffering a 106-70 defeat to Italy at the Land Rover Arena on Saturday, June 25 (Sunday Manila time). The margin of defeat was one-point greater than the Philippines' 35-point blowout loss to Turkey on June 21.
Italy, which boasts NBA players Danilo Gallinari, Marco Belinelli and Andrea Bargnani, raced out to a 22-0 start before June Mar Fajardo finally got the Philippines on the scoreboard. Italy led 40-7 after the first quarter and 64-23 at halftime.
Gilas big man Andray Blatche led all scorers with 21 points with 6 rebounds and 4 assists but also a game-high 6 turnovers. Terrence Romeo and Troy Rosario both scored 10 while Jayson Castro added 9 points. Gallinari led Italy with 20 while Belinelli contributed 11.
Gilas is rated 7 spots higher (28) than Italy (35) by FIBA.
Gilas will face China in a rematch of their 2015 FIBA Asia Championship final showdown on Sunday, June 26 local time after China lost to Canada 95-69 earlier in the day.
The Italy game was the Philippines' last before announcing the final two cuts to trim the roster to 12 players, which will be announced on Sunday, June 26 at 6 pm.
The final 12 players will represent the Philippines at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament, which kicks off July 5 at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines. The Philippines must finish first among 6 teams to qualify for the Olympic basketball tournament for the first time since 1972. – Rappler.com
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