After almost three weeks of training outside the country and mere hours after the announcement of their final 12-man roster, Gilas Pilipinas showed their skills by beating China to the tune of 72-69 in a pocket tournament currently being played in Bologna, Italy. It was a redemption for the team, who lost the FIBA Asia Men’s Championship to China in October last year.
Terrence Romeo led the team with 18 points, hustling in the fourth quarter, while Andre Blatche made 14 points and 12 rebounds for a double double. Jeff Chan contributed 10, and Jayson Castro scored 9. Showing Heart on Fire, Romeo hit a three-pointer in the final moments, breaking a 63-63 tie, while Pingris sealed the deal by bringing the lead to 71-67 with 1:39 remaining.
The win was a much-needed morale boost for the team and their fans, following a devastating loss to international favorites Turkey in a tune-up game last week.
Despite the overwhelming odds, Gilas Pilipinas continues to play for the country’s pride and honor. The team is set to return home this week and prepare for their final tune-up game against Turkey on July 1. With two weeks of training under their belts to get better acquainted with one another’s styles and polish their strategies, our national squad will surely deliver a performance worth cheering on for their home court crowd.