By Joel Orellana
Gilas Pilipinas lost the opportunity to play powerhouse Spain after dropping an 82-71 decision to Congo in the Torneo de Malaga at the Palacios de Deportes Jose M, Martin Carpena on Friday night (Saturday in Manila) in Spain.
The Filipino dribblers failed to sustain their hot start as the Congolese used their height and might against the nine-man Gilas squad to advance to the finals of the pocket tournament and meet the world No. 2 Spaniards.
After leading 29-20 after the first period, Phl 5’s offense went south in the next period and the No. 82 Congo made its run and took a 58-55 advantage entering the final quarter.
Head coach Yeng Guiao missed the services of veteran Gabe Norwood badly due to mild groin strain but could be available in the team’s match against Ivory Coast.
Robert Bolick led Gilas with 21 points on 7 of-9 shooting from the field including 3-of-5 from rainbow territory and was the lone Filipino player who shot from beyond the arc. The Philippine 5 shot 8-of-26 from the three-point zone.
Naturalized player Andray Blatche added 15 points and eight rebounds but was 3-of-10 from the three-point area while CJ Perez chipped in 11.
Ron Mvoulka paced Congo with 21 points while Ruphin Kayembe and Herve Kabalese added 16 and 10 markers, respectively.
Gilas 5 demolished Congo, 102-80, in their previous tune-up game in Guadalajara. (Video fr Crossover Hoops)