All Roads Lead to Spain: France Survives Gilas Challenge

Gilas Pilipinas did better than expected last night, giving 2013 Eurobasket champs France a run for their money before bowing, 75-68, in the 2014 Antibes International Basketball Tournament. 

Gilas gained a lot of respect after last night's game against the French.
(image from Josh Reyes's Instagram account)

The tournament features four teams preparing for the 2014 FIBA World Cup — France, the Philippines, Australia, and Ukraine. Australia also won last night, beating Ukraine, 74-65.

What follows is an excerpt from the game recap of

“Gilas Pilipinas showed promise against the defending European champions but ultimately fell short to the NBA-laden France squad, 75-68, in the opening game of the 2014 Antibes International Basketball Tournament.

Despite missing Jayson Castro due to injury, Gilas held a 39-35 halftime lead over France, which fielded Boris Diaw of the San Antonio Spurs, Evan Fournier of the Orlando Magic, Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trailblazers and other NBA veterans.

Andray Blatche, Gilas’ naturalized big man who most recently played for the Brooklyn Nets, was their aggressive, tipping in his side’s first basket of the game. The small Filipino contingent on hand made their presence known moments later when LA Tenorio connected to his Barangay Ginebra teammate Japeth Aguilar for a powerful one-handed dunk. 

The Gilas side held their breaths when Blatche hit the floor near the end of the third quarter with what appeared to be a sprained ankle. Blatche would return but the bounce in his step wasn’t as pronounced as it had been earlier.

Blatche and Lee both scored 12 to lead the Philippines, while Batum top-scored for France with 16 to go along with 12 rebounds.

Gilas will wrap up the four nation tournament with games against Australia and Ukraine, which will serve as a tuneup for the FIBA World Cup, which takes place in Spain from August 30-September 14.”

Watch the entire game below (in two parts):

Part 1:

Part 2:

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