ANDRAY Blatche came an assist short of a triple-double and Roger Pogoy sparked a late scoring outburst as Gilas Pilipinas turned back Adelaide 36ers on Friday night, 92-83, in the opener of their two-game friendlies at the Meralco gym.
Blatche had monster numbers of 19 points, 18 rebounds, and nine assists in the win which the Filipinos did not clinch until they went on a 10-0 run in the final four minutes triggered by a pair of killer three-pointers by Pogoy.
Pogoy's three-pointer served as the catalyst of Gilas' killer run as it wiped away an 80-81 deficit that gave the national team the lead for good, 83-81.
A basket by Pogoy off a drive following a miss by the 36ers at the other end, made it an 85-81 game with 3:24 to go.
"We have more refining to do, but I'm glad we won the game," said coach Yeng Guiao later. "I'm glad that we were able to sustain yung effort. The 36ers gave us a really good game."
Japeth Aguilar had 17 points, including an emphatic two-handed slam against Eric Griffin that capped the Filipinos' 13-2 finishing kick.
CJ Perez, who teamed up with Pogoy in that crucial fourth quarter stretch, added 12 points, while Pogoy and Paul Lee each had 10 apiece. Pogoy had eight of his output in the fourth quarter.
Guiao is pleased with the challenge provided by the 36ers, stressing its exactly what Gilas needed heading into the FIBA World Cup which kicks off in China next week.
"Yun yung talagang kailangan natin, rugged, physical, playing against bigger guys, playing against bigs who can run the floor, who are quick," he said.
"This gave us a glimpse of what we will face."
Injuries kept Matthew Wright, Poy Erram, and Marcio Lassiter from playing against the 36ers, the four-time champion of the National Basketball League (NBL), but intently watched the action from the sidelines.
Guiao said Lassiter is definitely out for the World Cup, but Wright and Errman remain in consideration for the final 12-man roster for the August 31 to Sept. 15 tournament.
Ramon Moore led the 36ers with 16 points, while Harry Froling had 11, all in the second half as he rallied back the team from a 62-71-deficit to take the lead at 81-80.
The two teams play again on Sunday also at the Meralco gym for the final phase of their scheduled tune-up matches. (RG)