MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine national basketball team ended a streak of five consecutive losses with a confidence-boosting 74-65 victory over Egypt on Sunday in a tune-up game in Guadalajara, Spain.
With five days to go before the FIBA World Cup, Gilas Pilipinas snapped a losing skid with a great effort against Egypt, the silver medalist in FIBA Africa, behind a 20-point performance from sniper Jeff Chan.
Naturalized player Andray Blatche scored 14 points, seven of which came during the vital third period when Gilas outscored Egypt 24-15 to finally take control of the game.
Blatche had missed his first 11 shots in the first half before ending his slump in the third quarter. While the NBA player was struggling, it was JuneMar Fajardo who stepped up for Gilas, scoring eight points off the bench.
Gilas started the third quarter on a 17-5 run and even led by double digits, before entering the fourth with a 53-46 lead.
The national team also showed composure when Egypt came to within four points, 58-62, in the final quarter.
Prior to the victory, Gilas lost all of their games in a pocket tournament in France then lost to Euskadi and to FIBA Africa champions Angola.
Gilas will wrap up their preparations for the FIBA World Cup with one last tune-up game against the Dominican Republic.