Aug 07, 2019

Gilas Pilipinas off to good start, topples Congo, 102-80

GILAS Pilipinas leaned on the duo of Andray Blatche and Japeth Aguilar to demolish Congo, 102-80, to kick off its 10-day training camp in Spain on a winning note Wednesday at the Palacio Multiusos de Guadalajara.

Blatche and Aguilar finished with 25 and 22 points, respectively as the two spearheaded a fiery start by the national team to complete the wire-to-wire win.

Mark Barroca added 16 points as the only other player in double figures for coach Yeng Guiao, whose making do with only a 10-man lineup playing in the camp that serves as part of the national team's preparation for the coming FIBA World Cup.

The 6-foot-11 Blatche was on fire early on, towing Gilas to a 32-19 lead in the first period before Aguilar joined the fray.

The 82nd ranked Congo trimmed the gap to a single digit by halftime, but the Filipinos went on a 31-16 run in the third period to make it an 84-60 lead heading to the final quarter.

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Gabe Norwood and Matthew Wright each had eight points for Gilas Pilipinas.

The Filipinos will not have the luxury of rest as they next face Ivory Coast on Thursday for the final game of their back-to-back tune-up matches being held in closed door.

By Friday, the national team will go to Malaga for a mini-pocket tournament also involving Congo and Ivory Coast along with the host team Spain.

The Filipinos will meet Congo anew and get to have a shot at Marc Gasol and the Spanish team if they repeat over the African nation.

Spain will play Ivory Coast in the other pairing of the tournament. (RG) / Image courtesy of Ryan Gregorio/SBP

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