Gilas Pilipinas suffers 84-73 defeat to Turkey in Istanbul tune-up game

Gilas Pilipinas suffered an 84-73 defeat against Turkey in their first pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) tune-up game played in Istanbul.

While the score remained close throughout the first half (42-40 to Turkey), the Filipinos ultimately fell short due to Turkey’s superior three-point shooting and foul trouble for key players.

Despite managing to stay within striking distance for most of the game, Gilas struggled from beyond the arc, connecting on only 5 of their 17 three-point attempts. In contrast, Turkey displayed a potent long-range offense, draining 14 of their 41 three-pointers. This disparity in three-point efficiency proved to be a decisive factor in the outcome.

Justin Brownlee paced the Gilas offense with 21 points, although his shooting woes from deep (1-of-7) highlighted the team’s overall struggles. June Mar Fajardo provided a strong inside presence, contributing a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Both Fajardo and Kai Sotto encountered foul trouble throughout the game, limiting their effectiveness. Sotto, in particular, fouled out with 2:35 remaining, leaving a significant void in Gilas’ frontline.

Tarik Biberovic emerged as the star player for Turkey, leading all scorers with 23 points, including a clutch three-pointer that effectively sealed the win for the home team. Can Korkmaz also chipped in with 12 points, showcasing his efficient free-throw shooting by going a perfect 9-of-9 from the line.

Despite the setback, Gilas can still glean valuable lessons from this encounter. They now head to Poland for their final tune-up game before traveling to Riga, Latvia for the FIBA OQT. While Poland will compete in the OQT in Spain, Gilas will face off against host nation Latvia and Georgia in Group A. Their performance in these crucial games will determine their path towards potentially securing a coveted spot in the Paris Olympics.

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