Gilas Pilipinas secured another victory, defeating the Ukrainian U-20 team 84-74 in their second consecutive matchup at the Zalgirio Arena in Lithuania.
Justin Brownlee played a pivotal role in setting the tone for the Filipinos, scoring 16 points in the first half and finishing the game with 21 points and eight rebounds. CJ Perez also contributed 14 points, becoming Gilas’s only other player in double digits.
The win marked the team’s second triumph against the Ukrainian side, following their initial victory of 70-61. Coach Chot Reyes expressed satisfaction with the team’s progress after four games in their three-week European training camp, which serves as part of their preparations for the FIBA World Cup.
“Overall, I think the four games we’ve played have delivered what we expected for us to be able to learn a lot about each other, to be able to learn what we need to work on and get us into competitive shape while playing against quality competition,” said Coach Reyes.
Scottie Thompson continued to sit out due to back spasms, but Chris Newsome returned to the active roster after missing the first meeting due to a bruised knee. Meanwhile, naturalized player Ange Kouame is set to join the team for their last two tune-up matches after arriving in Lithuania on Sunday.
In their second matchup against the Ukrainian U-20 team, Gilas Pilipinas showcased improved execution, shooting 53.8 percent from the field while limiting the Ukrainians to a 40 percent shooting percentage. The team displayed their ability to run the floor, scoring 13 fastbreak points compared to the Ukrainian team’s four.
In other news, the Gilas Pilipinas women’s team demonstrated significant growth and competitiveness, securing a commendable sixth-place finish in the FIBA Women’s Asia Cup. Coach Pat Aquino expressed optimism about the team’s progress and hopes to continue their upward trajectory in the future, building on their experiences and achievements in Australia.
Gilas Pilipinas’ impressive performances in both the men’s and women’s divisions showcase the progress and potential of Philippine basketball on the international stage.
With the men’s team maintaining their winning streak and the women’s team proving their mettle against top Asian competitors, the future looks bright for Philippine basketball.
As Gilas Pilipinas continues its preparations for the FIBA World Cup and aims for even more extraordinary achievements, fans eagerly anticipate their upcoming games and hope for more remarkable performances from both squads.