Gilas Pilipinas falls short against Finland

Gilas Pilipinas’ gallant effort was thwarted by Finland as the European nation registered a 4-point victory, 89-85, at the Kalevi Sports Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, in the wee hours of Thursday, June 29. As a result, the Philippine national basketball team went winless in the pocket tournament.

Similar to their first match, the Filipinos allowed themselves to fall behind early before failing in their subsequent fightback attempts.

Still, it was a positive omen for the Nationals, who, despite their inexperience, were able to hold their own against the No. 24 team in the world.

Dwight Ramos continued to demonstrate his value by leading the national team in scoring with 15 points, while Justin Brownlee added 11.

After missing the first tuneup game due to back spasms, Scottie Thompson announced his return to the lineup with 10 points and four assists, while June Mar Fajardo was the other player to score in double figures with 10 points and four rebounds.

Gilas fell behind by as many as 18 points early in the game due to its sluggish start. Ramos, Rhenz Abando, and CJ Perez gave Gilas new life, tying the game at 31 apiece, demonstrating the Nationals’ determination and tenacity once more.

Gilas never tasted the lead, but they persevered and won the final three quarters to close the gap.

Finland, however, displayed composure and re-established a 13-point lead with a 15-6 run in the final quarter to extend its advantage to 83-70 with 4:18 remaining.

Gilas, refusing to go down without a fight, continued to push and narrowed the deficit to single digits, but the run ultimately proved futile as Thompson’s back-to-back three-pointers in the final 30 seconds were not enough to salvage a victory.

The Nationals will continue their European tour by traveling to Lithuania in the coming days for two more tuneup games in preparation for the FIBA World Cup this coming August.

The scores:

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.

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