A day before the Men’s National Basketball Team left for Jakarta, Indonesia, Gilas Pilipinas figured in a tune-up game against the TNT Katropa.
Despite just four days of practice, Gilas was able to show their form, scraping past TNT, 78-76, Saturday afternoon at the Moro Lorenzo Gym in Quezon City.
“I’m actually happy. I’m satisfied. We played a strong team in Talk ‘N Text with their import. We won by two points that’s still good,” said Gilas head coach Yeng Guiao.
The backcourt trio of Paul Lee, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Stanley Pringle paced the Nationals with 12 points each.
With the troika steering the wheel, Gilas took a 62-53 lead over TNT entering the final frame.
“What I saw is, in a few days of practice we looked good,” beamed Guiao. “There’s chemistry — there’s natural flow of the game.
“The players complement each other in a game situation and we have a few more days to improve so medyo sa tatlo, apat na ensayo meron namang development at improvement,” he added.
Gilas though shot poorly from the foul stripe in the final frame. The Katropa took advantage of this, storming back late in the game.
“Marami (missed free throws) and in the international game, those free throws are going to be very important, very valuable. Games are going to be decided especially in our group by a few points. Sa grupo natin dikitan ang laban natin so pag nagmintis ka ng free throws napakasakit niyan kaya we’ll try to do something about it,” shared Guiao.
With Gilas clinging to just a 77-72 lead with 14 seconds remaining, Mike Glover powered his way inside to score on a possible and-one play. The American reinforcement though missed his free throw but Jayson Castro was there to clean it up and slice the lead to just one.
Paul Lee split his charities to give Gilas a two-point cushion with four ticks left. With no timeouts remaining, Roger Pogoy raced the length of the floor and threw a Hail Mary. The shot though was short to give Gilas the escape win.
JP Erram and Gabe Norwood had nine points each while Beau Belga added six points and six boards.
Pogoy paced TNT with 21 points, scoring nine in the final quarter. Glover had 14 points but was plagued with fouls all game long.
TNT was without Troy Rosario and Terrence Romeo.
Gilas will have their final practice tomorrow morning at the Meralco Gym before leaving for the 2018 Asian Games at 9:00pm on the same day.
Gilas 78 – Lee 12, Ahanmisi 12, Pringle 12, Erram 9, Norwood 9, Taulava 6, Belga 6, Yap 4, Standhardinger 4, Tiu 3, Almazan 0.
TNT 76 – Pogoy 21, Glover 14, Semerad 14, Williams 8, Castro 6, Carey 5, Garcia 4, Tamsi 3, Golla 2, Paredes 0, Arong 0.
Quarterscores: 21-14, 42-33, 62-53, 78-76.