Gilas Pilipinas put up a valiant fight but lost to Australia 68-84 on Thursday in the second window of the 2018 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Asian Qualifiers at the Margaret Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
The Philippines had a strong start but lost momentum comes the second half.
After a 19-all deadlock late in the first quarter, four-time Philippine Basketball Association Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo scored a jumper to give Gilas a 30-25 lead in the middle of the second canto.
But a 12-2 run by the Australians resulted in a 32-37 deficit for the PH squad.
The Australians then outscored the Filipinos in the third period, 26-17, en route to a 54-44 lead after Angus Brandt’s two free throws with only three minutes left in the game.
Australian Matt Hogdson’s layup further widened the gap 70-49. They were never threatened from that point onward.
Australia has improved its win-loss record to 3-0.
Fajardo was the lone Gilas player who scored in double figures with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. Matthew Wright contributed nine points, naturalized Andray Blatche had eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks while Roger Pogoy finished with eight points.
Cameron Cliddon scored 16 points while Brandt had 13 points to lead Australia, who will next face Taiwan on Sunday also at the same venue.
It was the Philippines’ first loss after winning over Japan 77-71, and Taiwan 90-83 in the first window.
Gilas will immediately return to the country to prepare against Japan on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. A win over Japan is crucial for Gilas to qualify for the second round.
Australia 84: Gliddon 16, Brandt 13, Creek 12, Lisch 12, Kay 7, Hodgson 6, Kickert 5, Norton 4, Wagstaff 4, Cadee 2, Sobey 2, McCarron 1
Philippines 68: Fajardo 15, Wright 9, Blatche 8 Pogoy 8, Norwood 7, Alas 6, Ravena 6, Abueva 5, Aguilar 2, Tratter 2, Cruz 0, Maliksi 0
Quarter scores: 19-19, 37-32, 63-49, 84-68