Edu, Perez star as Gilas Pilipinas gets back at Senegal

CJ Perez and AJ Edu played the starring role as Gilas Pilipinas defeated Senegal 75-63 on Sunday, August 6, at the Heyuan WUS International Basketball Tournament in Guangdong, China.

Perez and Edu kept the Filipinos afloat in the first half before finally clamping down on the global No. 37 ranked African team in the final frame to earn its second win against a lone defeat in the three-team pocket competition.

The victory also drowned away the sting of Gilas’ 72-64 loss to Senegal on Friday, August 4.

Dwight Ramos and Ray Parks also gave Gilas a big boost in the payoff period, where the Nationals took control following a 17-3 run.

Perez, who was tasked with handling playmaking duties in the tournament as part of the contingency plan in case Scottie Thompson fails to make it in time for the World Cup, put up 14 points while effectively distributing the ball and contributing on the boards.

Edu was also finding his stride with Gilas, scoring 15 points on three triples, including the dagger trey that gave the Nationals a 10-point lead, 70-60, with less than two minutes remaining.

Ramos and June Mar Fajardo added 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Parks scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter.

Unlike in the previous two games, where poor starts plagued Gilas, Perez, Fajardo, and Edu assured that the Filipinos would keep up with their bigger and more athletic opponents.

Gilas will play Iran in their final game in the short China tournament on Monday, August 7, before returning to Manila for the final leg of preparations for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

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