MANILA — Gilas Pilipinas, the country’s official representative to the 2014 Fiba World Cup, endured their second loss to Greece on Sunday (Monday morning in Manila), 82-70.
Taller and bigger, the Greeks outsmarted the Filipinos in every play. The loss was the second consecutive for the national Philippine team earning them the last spot in the bracket together with Puerto Rico.
“Of course, I am crushed by the loss,” Gilas coach Chot Reyes told a handful of international reporters after the late game. “But I am still very happy with the effort of my players. If you had told me before this tournament that we would be able to stay three-and-a-half quarters with the fifth-ranked team in the world, I would have been very happy.”
Andray Blatche, the Gilas’ import, gave a stellar performance despite nursing a limp because of a right knee injury. He set the stage for the team as he made two early baskets for the Philippines to stay alive within the first four minutes.
Unfortunately, the Greek’s anticipated this and prevented the Filipinos from placing their baskets. Gilas only made one three-pointer inside the final 5:42 of the first with 20-10 in favor of the Greeks.
Goergios Printezis, starting forward of Greece, rallied that earned them 46-29 lead with 7:55 in the third canto. Blatche answered to help the Philippines bring down the lead to 10. However, seems like the Philippines team used up all their fuel.
“We had no illusions that because we played well last night (against Croatia) that we would catch Greece off guard tonight,” Reyes said referring to Blatche’s 21 points and 14 rebounds and June Mar Fajardo’s additional 10 points off the bench.
He added, “We knew they would come in very well-prepared and very tough. We played a Greek team that was at its best or near its best.”