Philippines men’s basketball team, recognized as Super Power Gilas Pilipinas lost against Turkey with a 35-points beatdown 103-68 in the first tune-up match on Wednesday at the Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul.
For Philippine team, it was the first tune-up game abroad held after thorough nine-day training took place in Karpinisi, Greece. Gilas however, could not match to the shoot of eight world’s best team – Turkey that is led by excellent back-up wingman Birzan Batuk, raced to a 30-19 in the first quarter and kept moving ahead.
Top player of Gilas Andray Blatche closed with 23 points while Jayson Castro helped with 14 points. Calvin Abueva and Jeff Chan added 8 points each, LA Tenorio had 6 while Ray Parks drilled in four points each, but nothing was sufficient to stop tall Turkey team. These two teams will meet again for a faceoff in Manila for another tune up scheduled for July 1, just few days before 2016 Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) kickoff on July 5 to 10 at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.
Currently the team has a 14-men Squad and next tune up match will reveal the actual 12 players that qualifies to go for OQT. FIBA Manila qualifiers starting July 5th where Philippines might have to face France, Canada, Senegal, New Zealand and Turkey for grabbing the solitary Olympic Spot. The spot also depends upon the other two spot played at the same time in Turin, Italy, and Belgrade, Serbia in the FIBA qualifiers.
Turkey and Philippines are on two separate brackets in OQT, still there are chances that they meet in the crossover semifinal round. Turkey is in Group A joining Canada and Senegal while Gilas is in Group B facing France and New Zealand. Champion team from OQT will earn a spot in Olympics Rio De Jeneiro, Brazil scheduled to start in August 5 to 21.