France wins over Gilas Pilipinas in ‪#‎FIBAOQT‬, 93-84

Gilas Pilipinas failed to sustain its strong start to yield to France, 93-84, in their opening assignment in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Tuesday. Energized by a raucous crowd at Mall of Asia Arena, Gilas Pilipinas took an early advantage behind 14 first quarter points from naturalized center Andray Blatche.

The Philippines, massive underdogs against a fancied French team bannered by NBA stars Tony Parker and Boris Diaw, led by as much as 10 points, 28-18, late in the opening period. But France turned things around behind Parker and former NBA player Nando De Colo in the second quarter that saw Blatche go scoreless, allowing Les Bleus to head into the locker room with a slim 45-43 edge. The floodgates opened for France in the third period, which saw Parker repeatedly slicing against the Gilas defense as the Philippines' offense continued to sputter. France still led comfortably, 77-66, heading into the fourth quarter, but the Filipinos still had plenty of fight in them.

  Terrence Romeo and Jayson Castro kept Gilas within striking distance, before a lucky bounce brought them to within four points, 85-81, with a little more than two minutes remaining. But France kept its poise, scoring the next four baskets to keep the Philippines at bay for good.
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