After two humiliating defeats from its recent tune-up games against Turkey and Italy, the Gilas Pilipinas national team won’t go home empty-handed after stunning China, 72-69, on Sunday in a pocket tournament at the Palazzo in Bologna, Italy.
An hour after announcing the final 12 roster, the nationals played competitive game against the Chinese, who defeated the Filipinos in the championship round of the FIBA Asia Championship Olympic qualifying tournament in 2015.
Combo guard Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort notched in 18 points on 3-of-4 shooting in the three-point territory, including the two crucial three-pointers in the final 2:28 that provided the nationals a 69-65 advantage.
Besides crucial baskets, Romeo had 13 points in the payoff period.
Gilas Pilipinas sustained its pesky defense in the remaining minutes disallowing the Chinese to convert the game-tying baskets. Naturalized Filipino center Andray Blatche, a former National Basketball Association player, tallied 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Rain or Shine gunner Jeff Chan added 10 points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting in the field, while veteran Jayson Castro contributed nine points for Gilas Pilipinas. The nationals came from a 68-103 loss to the Turkish team in Istanbul last week and then 70-106 on Saturday against the Italian national team.
Zhou Qui led the Chinese with 18 points, while Zhai Xiaochuan had 15 points.
Point guard LA Tenorio and forward Calvin Abueva did not see action after being cut in the final 12.
The nationals will go home on Tuesday and resume training for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament scheduled on July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.