Gilas Pilipinas cruises to 23-point win over Ivory Coast in tune-up match

Gilas Pilipinas demonstrated what it is capable of when its roster is complete by defeating Ivory Coast, 85-62, in a closed-door tune-up match at the PhilSports Arena on Friday night.

Jordan Clarkson served as the spark for the Philippine team as he carried the load for Gilas in the first half until June Mar Fajardo took over in the second half when the home team pulled away for good in the payoff period.

The Utah Jazz guard scored 13 points – all in the first quarter – and grabbed 6 rebounds in his first game with Gilas since the fourth World Cup qualifying window last year.

The young frontcourt duo of AJ Edu and Kai Sotto scored a combined 22 points for the host nation, while veteran big man June Mar Fajardo chipped in 13 on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the stripe. Sotto played in his first scrimmage with Gilas since seeing action in the NBA Summer League.

The African team kept Gilas within striking distance throughout the entirety of the first quarter thanks to a 9-point performance by Bazoumana Kone.

In his lone scoring quarter, Clarkson led Gilas to a narrow three-point lead at 27-24.

Gilas’ game-clinching 25-9 run in the final frame was sparked by the trio of Edu, Fajardo, and team captain Scottie Thompson.

Thompson, who returned from a metacarpal fracture in his right hand, was also a solid presence in the Gilas backcourt, scoring 11 points. The reigning PBA MVP also contributed 4 boards, 5 assists and a block in 18 minutes of play.

The Gilas coaching staff decided not to play Calvin Oftana, Ray Parks, and Thirdy Ravena in the first of three tune-up games prior to the World Cup opener against the Dominican Republic on August 25 at the Philippine Arena.

On Sunday, Gilas will face the 18th-ranked Montenegro, followed by Mexico on Monday.

The scores:

Philippines 85 – Clarkson 13, Fajardo 13, Edu 12, Thompson 11, Sotto 10, Ramos 7, Aguilar 6, Abando 5, Pogoy 4, Perez 3, K. Ravena 1, Malonzo 0, Newsome 0.

Ivory Coast 62 – Kone 12, Dadiet 12, Sidibe 8, Tape 6, V. Fofana 5, Zouzoua 5, Dally 3, Diabate 3, Moulare 2, Abouo 2, Bah 2, Traore 2, M. Fofana 0.

Quarterscores: 27-24, 42-38, 60-53, 85-62.

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