Gilas Pilipinas saw the end of its perfect ride in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, bowing to the tall, efficient Team Australia, 68-84, at the Margaret Court Arena in MelbourneThursday.
Alas, the Filipinos couldn't keep up as the Boomers stepped up their drive on the way to a third straight win following a sweep of Japan and Chinese Taipei in the opening window of the qualifiers.
But the Filipinos had a proud stand that could well give them positive thoughts as they have their rematch at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan in July.
"The good thing about this game is now we know that we can take them," said Gilas coach Chot Reyes lauding his troops for giving the Boomers a fit through the first 27 minutes of the contest.
San Miguel Beer behemoth June Mar Fajardo had the brightest showing with 15 points plus two rebounds against his taller matchup Angus Brandt.
Matthew Wright and RR Pogoy displayed their shooting prowess, Kiefer Ravena and Kevin Alas had decent jobs in directing the Gilas plays while Calvin Abueva and Gabe Norwood had their admirable scrappy efforts.
Despite the loss, the Filipinos stayed right behind the Aussies, looking well ready to make the Top Three in Group B play and thus earn a spot in the next round of the qualifiers.
They hope to bounce back right away versus Japan at the MOA Arena on Sunday.
The Gilas-Australia game could have been closer if not for Gilas' atrocious 7-of-19 free throws compared to Australia's 25-of-32.
The Boomers finally got some breathing room at 62-48 on a crucial 8-0 tear where they were awarded seven charities, making five.
For the record, Australia was a dominant force against Japan and Chinese Taipei, walloping the two East Asian teams by a whopping average margin of 31 points.
Earlier, the Nationals got the Pinoy crowd on frenzy on an 11-6 roll to start the second quarter, thus, taking the lead at 30-25.
But somehow, their momentum was stopped as Ravena twisted his left ankle and was helped to their bench to have his foot re-taped.
The Boomers quickly pounced on the situation, unleashing a 10-0 attack to grab the lead which they held on to the finish.
Andray Blatche struggled with a 3-of-11 clip to finish with eight points on top of seven rebounds. (SB)
Australia 84 - Gliddon 16, Brandt 13, Creek 12, Lisch 12, Kay 7, Hodgson 6, Kickertt 5, Wagstaff 4, Norton 4, Sobey 2, Cadee 2, McCarron 1.
Philippines 68 - Fajardo 15, Wright 9, Blatche 8, Pogoy 8, Norwood 7, Abueva 5, Ravena 6, Alas 6, Aguilar 2, Tratter 2, Cruz 0, Malicsi 0.
Quarterscores: 19-19, 37-32, 63-49, 84-68