Gilas Pilipinas fought Asian giant China to a 79-all draw in a tune-up on the eve of its departure for Serbia Thursday to chase an Olympic dream – however tough the task is.
The Nationals settled for a draw even as they held sway most of the way, leading by seven at 78-71 entering the final minute of the warm-up game for the two teams both heading for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tourneys.
Coach Tab Baldwin and his youth brigade slug it out with Serbia and Dominican Republic in group plays in Belgrade while the Chinese vie for an Olympic berth over in the Canada OQT.
It was a botched won game but an added booster just the same for Team Phl ahead of the Serbia OQT that is also to feature Italy, Puerto Rico and Senegal.
A reversed three-point play capped by a tip-in at the buzzer had the Chinese salvaging a draw.
Dwight Ramos, Gilas’ lead gun in their six-game sweep in the FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers, was given a welcome breather in the game.
Kai Sotto top scored with 13 points, including 11 in the second quarter before RJ Abarrientos and Justine Baltazar took over in the second half.