MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine national team escaped with a close 98-95 triumph over Alab Pilipinas in its first tune-up ahead of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Monday at the Meralco Gym.
The game, held behind closed doors, saw five-time PBA Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo take charge down the stretch to power Gilas Pilipinas to victory over the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) side.
Fajardo finished with 21 points, while TNT's Roger Pogoy added 15 markers for Gilas. Alaska's Vic Manuel and Ginebra's Stanley Pringle each contributed 10 markers.
Gilas played without Troy Rosario, who is dealing with a slight Achilles issue. Kiefer Ravena, who was added to the 15-man pool to replace the injured Jayson Castro, attended the game but did not play as well.
Meanwhile, Renaldo Balkman did not suit up for Alab Pilipinas.
"Down the stretch, we did what everybody, any other smart coach would do. We rode June Mar. We jumped on his back, and we rode him, and he won the game for us down the stretch," said Gilas head coach Tim Cone.
Gilas plays Alab in another tune-up game next Monday.