FIBA WC: Gilas Pilipinas overcomes Ivory Coast for 2nd tune-up win; Norwood injured

Gilas Pilipinas overcame a sluggish start to overcome African side Ivory Coast and pick up their 2nd exhibition win, 94-83 in Spain as they continue preparing for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China later this month.

Andray Blatche filled the stat sheets and was 3 boards short of a triple-double as he finished with an all-around 18 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds.

Three other nationals scored in double-digits. Paul Lee dropped 16 points, Japeth Aguilar chipped in 12 markers, his 2nd straight double-figure scoring game, and CJ Perez contributed 11.

The Philippines trailed at the half, 50-45 against the no. 64-ranked nation in the world, before buckling down to work in the 3rd frame to make it 79-75.

Head coach Yeng Guiao’s troops eventually pulled away in the final period en route to another victory.

Wing man Gabe Norwood did not play against Ivory Coast, resting a mild groin strain.

Per ESPN5’s Paolo Del Rosario, Norwood should be able to play again in 2-3 days according to their trainer.

Gilas will now head to Malaga, Spain for a 4-nation pocket tournament featuring Ivory Coast, Congo, and host country Spain, which is expected to field mainstays like Marc Gasol.

The nationals will play Congo 1st, and face either Ivory Coast or Spain in the battle for 3rd or championship game.

(Photo from Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Facebook)