Gilas avoids late collapse to win tune-up against Iran

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine national basketball team nearly blew a double-digit lead in the second half but managed to get enough stops and baskets down the stretch of the fourth quarter to defeat Iran, 81-70, in a tune-up game on Wednesday, June 8, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A big basket with continuation off a broken play by naturalized Filipino Andray Blatche proved to be the biggest shot of the game, giving Gilas Pilipinas a victory before embarking on their training camp in Europe.

The national team leaves on Friday for Greece where it will have a 10-day training camp, to be followed by tune-up games against the Turkish national team in Turkey and then versus China, Canada, and Italy in Italy.

Gilas will be back in Manila on June 28.

Blatche played well for Gilas with 20 points and 11 boards while Terrence Romeo and Ray Parks provided 12 and 11 points, respectively, off the bench. Ryan Reyes also played well with 12 points.

Despite missing Marcio Lassiter and Jeff Chan, Gilas shot relatively well from downtown by going 9-of-23 and also limited its turnovers to 12.

Iran, who was playing with a younger core than the Philippines has become accustomed to, was led by the 16 points and 3 boards of Behnam Yakhchali. 

The Iranians were without long-time players Hamed Haddadi, Mehdi Kamrani, and Samad Nikkhah Bahrami. –