MANILA – Gilas Pilipinas stayed close to Mexico in their last tune-up game before the FIBA World Cup but still end up falling at the raw end of an 84-77 result on Monday night at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Despite resting Jordan Clarkson for the night, Gilas put up a gallant stand against the Mexicans, even taking the lead at some points of the game, the last at 59-55 midway through the third quarter.
However, Mexico finished the third on a 14-4 run to take a 69-63 lead and held off Gilas in the fourth to seal the win.
In fact, after a 51-all halftime deadlock, Mexico held Gilas to just 26 second-half points.
Pako Cruz led Mexico with 18 points, going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, one rebound and three assists, while Paul Stoll added 17 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Mexico made a living from long range in general, finishing 13-of-24 from three-point range.
Scottie Thompson led Gilas with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Save for the absence of Clarkson, coach Chot Reyes played almost the same roster that took on Montenegro on Sunday night, although Calvin Oftana did not get some playing time against Mexico.
Like the previous game, Ray-Ray Parks and Thirdy Ravena were not listed in the active lineup, which means both players did not see action in all three tune-up games which Reyes said would play an important factor in choosing the final 12-man Gilas lineup for the FIBA World Cup itself.
Despite needing to play three games in four nights behind closed doors, Reyes said that the grind would still continue for Gilas, that is, they will still practice for the next three nights before they debut against Dominican Republic.
“Tuloy-tuloy na kami. Tatlong araw na lang e (We will continue on in practice. There are only three days left),” Reyes said.
Gilas is expected to name its final lineup either by Wednesday or Thursday. (PNA)