Monday, September 1, 2014

Gilas Pilipinas loss to Greece 82-70 in 2014 FIBA World Cup

The Philippine national men’s basketball team hung tough against a mighty Greece squad but just couldn’t pull out the stops to yield an 82-70 result in the FIBA Basketball World Cup on Sunday (Monday morning Philippine time) in Seville, Spain.

Andray Blatche scored 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead Gilas Pilipinas as they once again made an impressive showing against one of the world’s basketball powerhouses in Greece.
Gilas Pilipinas trailed by as much as 17 points, but the Filipinos kept on fighting back and did not allow the Greeks to fully break the game wide open.

The Filipinos made one last push late in the fourth quarter after a LA Tenorio hit a trey and Japeth Aguilar scored a putback that kept the Filipinos within eight, 76-68, with under a minute left.

But Nick Calathes sank a dagger trey to give Greece the lead for good.

Greece, ranked fifth in the world, showed its might at the start of the game after shackling the Filipinos which allowed the European squad to come away with a 20-10 first quarter lead.

The Filipinos held their ground in the second period, preventing the Greeks from asserting their presence inside as they stayed within just 10 points for most of the quarter.

But Gilas Pilipinas also struggled from the field during that juncture, only shooting two treys at the half as Greece came away with a 37-27 lead.

Greece seemed to finally got their rhythm to start the third, threatening to pull away after a 9-2 run led by Gerogios Printezis that put them ahead by 17 points, 46-29, at the 7:55 mark.

But the Filipinos didn’t throw the white towel right away as Blatche, visibly in pain, scored five straight points to keep Gilas Pilipinas within 10, 46-36.

Printezis and Calathes bailed out the Greeks every time the Filipinos mounted a rally as they didn’t allow their lead to be cut to single digits for the first three quarters.

June Mar Fajardo showed he can also compete with the world’s best, blocking two straight shots of Calathes and finishing a layup at the end of the third as Gilas Pilipinas stayed within 13, 58-45.

Jeff Chan, struggling all game long, nailed his first triple to open the fourth and keep Gilas Pilipinas just down by 10, 58-48.

But Printezis and Kostas Vasileiadis conspired in a five-point stretch to lift the Greeks anew, 65-50, which the Filipinos couldn’t erase despite multiple attempts to make a comeback.

Tempers flared right after the buzzer sounded, when the taller Giannis Bourousis shoved LA Tenorio that started a commotion between players from both sides. Tenorio was earlier called with an unsportsmanlike foul for throwing a punch below the belt on another Greek player.

Fajardo followed up his solid showing in the Philippines’ loss against Croatia with 10 points and seven rebounds, while Marc Pingris showed his toughness again with 10 points and six boards.

The Filipinos struggled to make their outside shots the whole game, just converting six of 22 attempts for 27 percent. They held their own in the rebounding department, however, grabbing 41 compared to taller Greece’s 45.

Printezis led the way for Greece with 23 points, while Bourousis added 22 markers and 12 boards as they nailed their second victory.

Greece(82) - Printezis 25, Bourousis 12, Papanikolaou 9, Calathes 9, Zisis 8, Vasileiadis 6, Kaimakoglou 5, Sloukas 3, Antetokounmpo 3, Vougioukas 2, Mantzaris 0. 

Philippines (70) - Blatche 21, Fajardo 10, Pingris 7, Lee/Dalistan 5, Norwood 5, Castro/William 5, de Ocampo 4, Chan 3, Alapag 3, Tenorio 3, Aguilar 2, David 2. 

Quarters: 20-10, 37-27, 58-45, 82-7


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