Gilas Pilipinas fought from a bad start to salvage an 85-all draw against club team Mighty Sports in the national team’s first tune-up match in preparation for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Columbian Dyip rookie and top overall pick of the 2018 PBA Draft CJ Perez knocked down the game-tying triple with 14 seconds in regulation to knot the count.
San Miguel Beermen wing man Marcio Lassiter hit a trey prior, cutting the deficit down to only 3, setting up Perez’s timely jumper.
The Philippines went down by double-digits in the opening period, although managed to bounce back for the draw.
Aside from Perez and Lassiter, June Mar Fajardo, Gabe Norwood, Robert Bolick, Roger Pogoy, Mark Barroca, Poy Erram, and Matthew Wright played for Gilas, along with reserve Beau Belga. Kiefer Ravena did not see minutes on the floor while Raymond Almazan and Alex Cabagnot were present inside the venue.
Later on, Guiao said to ESPN5 that he felt satisfied with the end result, considering Gilas has been practicing for only a few weeks.
“Coming into the game, I didn’t really expect much. But guys showed really good effort. Nobody really was trying to dominate the game, the ball was moving around. They showed good effort and defense,” said Guiao.
Mighty Sports, mentored by former Gilas I head coach Rajko Toroman, fielded a strong roster comprised mainly of imports like Renaldo Balkman, Eugene Phelps, Hamady N’Diaye, and McKenzie Moore, along with Fil-Am playmaker Jason Brickman.
The club team is trying to win a 2nd gold in the annual Jones Cup in Taiwan.
It is an encouraging sign for Gilas to have played Mighty Sports to a draw, as the World Cup continues to pull closer.
The Philippines is in Group D with Serbia, Italy, and Angola.