By Jonas Terrado
Gilas Pilipinas repeated over Ivory Coast, 73-63, early Sunday Manila time to settle for third place in the four-team pocket tournament held in Malaga, Spain.
Robert Bolick topscored for the second straight game with 19 points on 5-of-8 shooting while naturalized player Andray Blatche added 18 points, 18 rebounds and four assists as Gilas ended its week-long stint in Spain on a winning note.
Coach Yeng Guiao’s team beat Ivory Coast for the second straight time. Gilas rallied from an early deficit to post a 94-83 victory in their first meeting in Guadalajara.
The Nationals finished their trip by winning three of four games in both cities, the lone defeat coming at the expense of Congo, 82-71, in the first round of the pocket tourney early Saturday Manila time.
Gilas had earlier routed Congo, 102-80, in Guadalajara.
The defeat, however, denied Gilas an opportunity to face world power Spain in the final which could have been a good test before heading to Foshan, China for the Group D games of the FIBA World Cup.
Eleven players took part in the trip used as part of its World Cup buildup.
But Guiao was forced to field nine players during the tune-up games with Gabe Norwood dealing with a mild groin strain and Kiefer Ravena still serving a FIBA suspension that will end on Aug. 24.
Gilas is due to arrive Tuesday before resuming its daily practices at the Meralco Gym.
The Philippines will also face Aussie side Adelaide 36ers in a two-game exhibition set Aug. 23 and 25 at Meralco before flying to Foshan for the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Spain pummeled Congo, 96-64, to sweep the two-day competition. Willy Hernangomez of the Charlotte Hornets led the way with 24 points.