Gilas Pilipinas outmuscled by Greece for second straight loss

Jane Bracher

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Gilas Pilipinas outmuscled by Greece for second straight loss
A hobbled Andray Blatche scored 21 and grabbed 14 boards and June Mar Fajardo had a career game but it wasn't enough to topple the 5th ranked Greece team

MANILA, Philippines – Another game, another hard-fought loss 

The Philippine national men’s basketball team succumbed against the tough Greece, 82-70, and fell to a 0-2 win-loss record on Monday, September 1 in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Seville, Spain.

The FIBA-ranked 5th Greece dominated from start to finish and weathered every attempt by Gilas to trim the double-digit deficit.

Greece began pulling away in the first with a 16-7 lead but the nationals bounced back with an offensive outburst in the second canto, battling toe to toe with the Greeks with 17 points in that frame to stay within striking distance at the half, 27-37.

Greece kept the Philippines at bay in the third canto amid several spurts sparked by team captain Jimmy Alapag and June Mar Fajardo.

Fajardo, who was virtually invisible during the FIBA Asia Championships last year, played quality minutes for coach Chot Reyes as he scored 10 points, collected 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Despite the 5-inch disparity in average height, Gilas wasn’t too far behind in rebounding, down only 45-41 in that department.

The Philippines also shot effectively from the stripe, 16-of-20, despite taking fewer attempts than Greece, who went 21-of-30.

Much like the the game against Croatia, where they lost in overtime, Gilas showed how competitive it can be against a powerhouse squad like Greece.

Blatche, who limped through most of the game as he played with a sore right knee, was subbed out to rest with over a minute left in the game. He had 21 points, 14 rebounds and 3 steals to lead Gilas.

Filipino fans showed their support for Gilas in Seville. Photo from FIBA

(RELATED: The day Gilas Pilipinas arrived)

Ginebra standouts LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar fought until the very end, scoring on a triple and a putback to make it just a 76-68 ballgame with under a minute remaining. But it wasn’t enough for the Philippines which needs two wins to advance to the next round. 

Gilas Pilipinas will play Argentina at 11 pm today with only 19 hours rest.

For Greece, Georgios Printezis was unstoppable with his 25 markers and 8 boards.

The game was also marred by a scuffle at the buzzer as both benches cleared when Greece’s Ioannis Bourousis shoved Alapag after Gilas players protested a Greece three at the buzzer, claiming Greece was attempting to run up the score. – Rappler.com

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