- Gilas Pilipinas defied expectations but still lost to France by a slim margin, 93-84
- Nando de Colo scored 27 points and Tony Parker with 21 for France
- Andray Blatche led Gilas with 21 points, followed by Terrence Romeo with 19
- Gilas has a do-or-die game against New Zealand on Wednesday night
Gilas Pilipinas has proven on Tuesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena that it is one of the best basketball teams in Asia. However, being one of the best in Asia is not enough against a world powerhouse, as Gilas lost to France, 93-84.
“Everybody saw the game. It was a highly-competitive game. We felt we needed to get off to a good start. There’s always the issue of how big of an underdog are when you play a team with the stature of France,” said Tab Baldwin, the head coach of Gilas.
The national basketball team of France is considered by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) as the fifth best in the world, while the Philippine team is ranked 28th.
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Baldwin pointed out that other Asian countries such as Iran, Japan and Tunisia were all defeated in the first round games by a large margin. Being beaten by the fifth best team in the world by only a single-digit lead is a great start, according to the Gilas head coach.
France was led by Nando de Colo who finished with 27 points and NBA star Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs with 21 points and six assists.
For the Gilas Pilipinas, Andray Blatche scored 21 points and Terrence Romeo finished with 19 points.
The Gilas Pilipinas had a 10-point lead early in the game but the French team was able to keep their composure and came back strong.
“But France is one of those teams that don’t panic and they shouldn’t with the players that they have… They used the excellent players around them,” Baldwin explained.
Gilas still has a chance to make the semifinals of the tournament by winning against New Zealand – ranked 21st in the world – on Wednesday night.-DN, Kami Media