Clarkson-less Gilas falls to Mexico in final FIBA World Cup tune-up

Gilas Pilipinas lost to a hot-shooting Mexico team to the tune of 84-77 on Monday, with Jordan Clarkson sitting out the Philippines’ final tune-up game before the FIBA World Cup.

The Filipinos lacked the firepower to match their opponent in the second half, during which Mexico broke free and never looked back.

Four days prior to the start of the World Cup, the Gilas team manager, Butch Antonio, and head coach, Chot Reyes, quelled any concerns regarding Clarkson’s health.

“He just needed a rest. Nothing like that (injury). He really just wanted to rest,” said Antonio.

“He just really needed to rest,” Reyes added.

Clarkson requested a break prior to the game after playing close to 30 minutes in Gilas’ 85-62 victory over Ivory Coast on Friday and 102-87 loss to Montenegro on Sunday, both of which he started.

Despite the absence of the Utah Jazz star, the Nationals kept the game close. Midway through the fourth, AJ Edu’s field goal brought Gilas to within three points, 72-69.

Gilas was unable to gain ground no thanks to numerous missed opportunities.

Scottie Thompson, who recently recovered from a fractured right hand, was the only Gilas player to score in double figures with 14 points, while Dwight Ramos and RR Pogoy each scored 9.

Pako Cruz led the Mexicans in scoring with 18 points, while Paul Stoll contributed 17 points. Together, they drained 9 triples.

Mexico, which is in Group D with Egypt, Lithuania, and Montenegro, shot 13-of-24 from long range, whereas the Philippines shot a woeful 7-of-23.

Gilas opens its campaign in the quadrennial meet against the Dominican Republic on Friday at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

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