Gilas loses to New Zealand, exits OQT

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Mika Vocuna (left) of New Zealand lays-up against June Fajardo of Gilas Pilipinas during their 2016 FIBA Olympic men's qualifying basketball tournament, in Manila on Wednesday. AFP PHOTO

Mika Vocuna (left) of New Zealand lays-up against June Fajardo of Gilas Pilipinas during their 2016 FIBA Olympic men’s qualifying basketball tournament, in Manila on Wednesday. AFP PHOTO

The Philippines’ chance to bag a berth for the Rio Olympics was all gone after Gilas Pilipinas lost to New Zealand 80-89 on Wednesday in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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Gilas also lost to France on Tuesday 84-93. The Philippines exited the tournament it hosted with a record of 0-2.

“I know it hurts for everybody, it pains to be in this situation, it’s a tough process. New Zealand played well,” said Gilas player Gabe Norwood during the post game news conference. “I want to say thank you to the best fans in the world. Just stand proud.”

Andray Blatche finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and two assists while Jayson Castro added 13 points. Center June Mar Fajardo and shooting guard Jeff Chan contributed 11 points each for Gilas.

Isaac Fotun and Thomas Abercrombie led New Zealand with 17 and 13 points, respectively.

France and New Zealand join Canada in the semifinals.

New Zealand and France will dispute the top seeding in Group B today at the same venue.

JR/CC

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