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Romeo catches fire as Gilas fights back to stun Wellington Saints



Gilas Pilipinas relied on the hot hands of Terrence Romeo in the fourth quarter as the home side erased a double-digit deficit and shock the Wellington Saints, 84-81 Saturday in the 2015 MVP Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Romeo nailed three long range bombs in a 15-2 Gilas run which transformed a 63-71 deficit into a 78-75 lead for the home side in the fourth quarter.

Calvin Abueva sank back to back floaters in the first part of the rally which cut the gap to 67-73, before Romeo drained bomb after bomb to give Gilas the lead.

A Justin Edwards triple later silenced the crowd momentarily as it gave the New Zealand side back the lead, 79-78 but Abueva answered with a floater which was counted after a Bryan Davis goal-tend.

Davis then missed a put-back shot on the other end, leading to a coast to coast move from Jayson Castro which pushed the lead to 82-79 with under a minute left.

Ray Turner and Castro both muffed their charities after that point; Romeo also missed two foul shots in the final 12.8 seconds as Gilas was forced to foul Kevin Braswell intentionally with 8 seconds left.

Braswell made both shots although Romeo responded by hitting two more charities that pushed the lead to 84-81.

Out of timeouts, Brook Ruscoe raced to frontcourt and launched a heave from beyond the arc which missed, allowing the Philippines to complete the stirring comeback.

Romeo finished with 18 points for Gilas including 4-for-8 from downtown, while Andray Blatche added 16 points and 9 rebounds.

Abueva chipped in 10 points and 5 boards off the bench for the nationals.

The Saints led for most of the match, inflicting damage inside the paint behind Turner and Bryan Davis’ exploits, who both attacked the paint several times.

The New Zealand side also went on a zone defense which made it difficult for Gilas to attack. An 8-0 run in the second quarter made it 38-30 for the Saints as they maintained a double-digit spread until the third quarter, before Gilas launched a spirited comeback in front of its boisterous crowd.

Braswell, the Saints’ playing coach, finished with 25 points to lead the squad which dropped to 1-1.

Turner contributed 17 points and 15 boards while Edwards also scored 17 points.

The Scores:

Philippines (84) – Romeo 18, Blatche 16, Abueva 10, Taulava 9, De Ocampo 9, Castro 7, Hontiveros 6, Intal 5, Pingris 4, Thoss 0, Norwood 0

Wellington Saints (81) – Braswell 25, Turner 17, Edwards 17, Davis 12, Ekenasio 4, Ruscoe 3, Mills 2, Watkins 1, Bloxham 0

Quarters: 20-23, 38-42, 54-65, 84-81.