GILAS Pilipinas absorbed a heartbreaking 73-77 loss to Puerto Rico and was formally eliminated in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup on Wednesday at the Centro Deportivo San Pablo Pavilion in Seville, Spain.
Puerto Rico’s puny guard JJ Barea delivered 30 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead his country to 1-3 win-loss log.
The Filipinos, who drew 25 and 18 points from naturalized 6’11 Andray Blatche and LA Tenorio, respectively, dropped to 0-4 win-loss record.
The nationals under the tutelage of head coach Chot Reyes started on a high note and took a huge 27-13 lead midway the first quarter, where Paul Lee and Andray Blatche hit three-pointers and Jean Marc Pingris grabbed two key offensive rebounds.
The 6’11 Blatche was simply unstoppable inside as he scattered seven points and grabbed five rebounds to dominate banned PBA import Renaldo Balkman. Point guard LA Tenorio of Ginebra set the tone with nine first-quarter points.
Puerto Rico, which played without starters Carlos Arroyo and Angel Vassallo, found its rhythm in the second quarter behind JJ Barea to keep Gilas within sight at halftime.
But the Filipinos kept the lead at 44-39 halftime. Puerto Rico fought in the second half and the NBA player point guard Barea, who played for the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves took charge in crunch time to eliminate Gilas Pilipinas. JOSEF T. RAMOS