Gilas Pilipinas falls short in final tune-up before FIBA OQT

Gilas Pilipinas concluded their European preparation for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) with a narrow 82-80 defeat against Poland in Sosnowiec, Poland.

This loss capped a two-game losing streak for the Nationals following their previous setback against Turkey.

Despite a strong opening quarter that saw them lead 23-16, the Filipinos struggled to maintain their momentum. Poland outscored them 25-15 in the second period, taking a 41-38 lead into halftime.

Gilas mounted a valiant comeback attempt in the final frame, fueled by impressive performances from Dwight Ramos (16 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists) and Justin Brownlee (game-high 30 points). They managed to cut the deficit to within two points, but Poland responded with a flurry of three-pointers to regain control. Ultimately, the Filipinos ran out of time, falling short in their bid for a pre-OQT victory.

Brownlee and Ramos were the driving force behind Gilas’ late surge. Brownlee’s scoring prowess was on display throughout the game, while Ramos showcased his all-around skills with points, rebounds, assists, and steals. Despite the loss, their contributions offer a glimpse of hope for the upcoming OQT.

Poland’s sharpshooting proved to be a major factor in their victory. They connected on 11 of their 24 three-point attempts, with a particularly lethal performance in the crucial fourth quarter. Michal Sokolowski, their Italian Cup MVP, led the way with 21 points and three triples.

Although winless in their European tune-up games, the coaching staff hopes to utilize the valuable experience gained against high-caliber opponents.

Gilas now sets their sights on the OQT in Riga, Latvia, where they will face off against host nation Latvia and Georgia in Group A. Their performance in these games will determine whether they advance to the crucial crossover semifinals and potentially secure a coveted spot in the Paris Olympics.

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