MANILA, Philippines – Gilas Pilipinas lost a hard-fought contest to Dominican Republic, 86-79, in their final tune-up game before the 2014 FIBA World Cup at the Palacio Multiusos de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Spain.
It was a physical game, with a near altercation in the first half, but the Dominican Republic proved to have a stronger finishing kick as they used a 6-1 run to close the game after the Filipinos came to within two points, 78-80, near the final minute.
Gabe Norwood led the way for Gilas with 17 points, while naturalized center Andray Blatche added 16 points and eight rebounds.
LA Tenorio scored 10 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Jayson Castro again did not play for Gilas as he continues to rest his injured ankle.
Gilas held brief leads in the opening half although it was still the Dominican Republic who was in control, 48-44, at halftime.
Much like in their game against Egypt Monday, the national team was buoyed by a huge Filipino crowd in Guadalajara.
"We're getting better," Gilas assistant coach Josh Reyes later posted on his Instagram account. "Finally, after just one month of preparation, the system and defense is starting to fall into place at the level where we need it to be."
"Hopefully, it would give us enough of a fighting chance," he added.
There were reports that a fight nearly broke out in the first half when Ranidel de Ocampo hit Dominican Republic's James Feldeine, but the issue was resolved before it got out of hand.