MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine men’s national basketball team, better known as Gilas Pilipinas, suffered a 35-point beatdown at the hands of Turkey, 103-68, on Wednesday morning, June 22 (Manila time) at the Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul.
It was the first tune-up game abroad for the Philippine team, which spent more than a week leading up to the contest training in the mountains of Kapernisi, Greece. Both Gilas and Turkey will be playing in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying tournament in Manila from July 5-10.
The Turkish national team, which found its stroke early from deep, went up by 11 after one quarter and extended the lead to 57-32 by the half. The Philippines couldn’t make it a competitive game after, trailing by as much as 37 at one point in the match.
Turkey is ranked number 8 in the world by FIBA, while the Philippines is at 28.
Naturalized Filipino and Gilas big Andray Blatche led Gilas with 23 points, while Jayson Castro helped out with 15 points - 13 in the third period alone. Jeff Chan, who’s returning from injury, and Calvin Abueva each scored 8 points in the wide defeat.
The two teams will meet in another tune-up game before the Manila OQT on July 1 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Turkey and the Philippines can meet in the FIBA Qualifiers knockout stages if both countries get past the first round.
Gilas is set to travel to Bologna, Italy over the next few days to participate in a 4-nation pocket tournament against the national teams of Canada, China, and Italy. – Rappler.com