Gilas Pilipinas faced another challenging matchup in their European training camp and unfortunately fell short once again, losing their second consecutive tune-up game, this time against Finland, 89-85, in Tallinn, Estonia.
Despite having a full roster at their disposal, the Philippine team needed help to gain control of the game from the start. Finland took an early lead and built a significant 18-point advantage. However, Gilas Pilipinas showcased their resilience, tying the game at 31 in the second quarter.
Nevertheless, Finland closed the period with a strong 20-11 run, maintaining their lead over the Philippines until the final buzzer. The Finnish team’s dominance beyond the arc, sinking 13 three-pointers, and their control of the boards with 55 rebounds played a crucial role in tilting the balance in their favor.
Dwight Ramos once again led the scoring for Gilas Pilipinas with an impressive 15 points, displaying his consistent performance in the tune-up games. Justin Brownlee, who missed a portion of the previous game against Estonia due to cramps, contributed 11 points to the team’s efforts. Scottie Thompson, who had been sidelined with back spasms, returned to the court and made an impact with 10 points, including a late three-pointer that settled the final score.
The Filipinos struggled with their three-point shooting yet again, converting only five of their 14 attempts, while Finland showcased their accuracy from beyond the arc.
Despite the back-to-back losses, head coach Chot Reyes remained optimistic about Gilas Pilipinas’ performance. He praised the team for their effort and acknowledged that the European tune-up games serve as valuable learning experiences, allowing the players to adjust to the pace and intensity of FIBA-level competition.
The loss against Finland followed their defeat against Estonia, where they also displayed resilience despite a slow start. Reyes emphasized that the team’s focus is on peaking at the right time and building toward the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
Moving forward, Gilas Pilipinas will travel to Lithuania, where they are set to face further challenges in at least four upcoming games. The national team continues to embrace these opportunities for growth and improvement, aiming to refine their game and make significant strides as they prepare for the highly anticipated World Cup.
While wins have been elusive for Gilas Pilipinas, their determination and progress provide reasons for optimism as they strive to represent the Philippines with pride and competitiveness on the international stage.
Finland 89 – Little 19, Grandison 18, Blomgren 10, Tumba 8, Nyman 8, Luukkonen 6, Tainamo 5, Vaara 4, Nikkarinen 4, Mantynen 2, Murphy 2, Tahvanainen 0.
Philippines 85 – Ramos 15, Brownlee 11, Thompson 10, Fajardo 10, Perez 8, Abando 8, T. Ravena 8, Aguilar 6, Malonzo 5, Newsome 4, K. Ravena 0, Erram 0.
Quarterscores: 26-11; 51-42; 69-59; 89-85.