Gilas Pilipinas wins 2 in row in Lithuania

Games part of 2-week training for FIBA-Asia Championship in Manila, August 1-11

Friday night saw national basketball team Gilas Pilipinas triumph for the second time in a row in Lithuania, as it won against Birstono Jazz-Diremtan, 74-63, at Svyturio Arena, in Kleipeda Region, Palangan, the daily broadsheet ‘Manila Bulletin’ today said.

Gilas made only three out of 20 attempts from the 3-point arc, but still it was a fitting follow-up to its thrilling 81-76 victory against Neptunas Kleipeda basketball club on Thursday night at Vakaru Laivu Gamykla BLRT Grupp gymnasium.

The games that Gilas played against Birstono and Neptunas, the 4th-ranked team in Lithuania Basketball League (LBL), were part of its two-week training in preparation for the FIBA-Asia Championship, to be held in Manila on August 1 to 11.

Naturalised centre Marcus Douthit led Gilas with 18 points while Gabe Norwood ended up with 13, Gary David contributed seven and rookie Jayson Castro finished with seven points.

“Come from behind W again,” Gilas coach Chot Reyes posted on his Twitter account, @coachot. “Shot only 3/20 3s, but found ways to stay in the game. Still a lot of work to do…”

Gilas Pilipinas actually trailed 30-36 at halftime on Friday night—but with speed, it managed to recover in the fourth period, outscoring the Lithuanians, 27-11.

This was the second of six games for Gilas Pilipinas against the top professional teams in various leagues in Lithuania, and the 20-under national team. “They are also training in the morning under former Lithuania national team Kestutis Kemzura,” the ‘Manila Bulletin’ article said.

Josh Reyes, assistant coach of Gilas, tweeted that the team had “a hard time vs their very big and skilled post players [Birstono Jazz-Diremtan].

At 7pm (Lithuania time), Gilas Pilipinas takes on Kaunas LSU-Baltai, also at the Svyturio Arena.

Gilas Pilipinas took Group A as the host ‘luxury’ of FIBA-Asia Championship with Jordan, Chinese Taipei and Saudi Arabia. Thus, and will play Group B’s top three teams in the second round, probably Japan, Qatar and Lebanon.

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