Gilas Pilipinas suffered its third consecutive defeat in the 2016 FIBA Asia Challenge after losing to China, 65-75, on Monday at the Azadi Basketball Hall in Tehran, Iran.
Despite a gallant performance against China, the Philippines was unable to break its losing skid to drop down to the bottom of the standings of Group E with a 0-3 mark.
The Chinese, using offensive skills, established a 14-18 advantage at the end of the first period.
China continued its assault in the second canto, banking on their 50 percent shooting performance from the field, to pull away, 26-39, at the half.
The Filipinos, in the third quarter, displayed renewed vigor notching a total of 25 points moving within striking distance, 56-61, going into the final 12 minutes.
Gilas went toe-to-toe with China on the offensive end but was outlasted by the latter at the end of regulation.
Former Far Eastern University star Mac Belo led the Philippines with 16 points off a 6-of-13 shooting performance from the field together with his seven rebounds while guard Roger Pogoy contributed 11 points and two rebounds.
Carl Bryan Cruz and Kevin Ferrer contributed eight and seven points, respectively.
Hi Jinqiu led China with a total of 21 points while Zhu Yuchen posted an impressive 17 boards.
Gilas Pilipinas has two remaining games in the elimination round with a match against Kazakhstan today followed by the last game against Jordan on September 14.
The Philippines had a dismal start in the continental tilt after bowing to the tall Indians, 83-91, during the opener then to Taiwan, 76-87, on Sunday.
The FIBA Asia Challenge is the initial tournament that will determine the qualification process for the joint 2017 continental basketball championship that will feature teams from Asia and Oceania. JAELLE NEVIN REYES