ANDRAY Blatche came out with his best performance in a Gilas Pilipinas uniform on the eve of his 28th birthday, but he couldn't save the Philippines from losing, 74-83, to Angola in their tuneup match on Thursday ( Friday, Manila time) in San Sebastian, Spain.
The 6-foot-11 Blatche was relentless in 31 minutes on the floor, finishing with 33 points and 17 rebounds while trying to lead Gilas back from an early deficit against the reigning Fiba Africa champions.
But Angola managed to hold on to the lead from the second quarter on to deal Gilas a fifth straight setback in its buildup for the Fiba World Cup in Spain in just over a week's time.
Gilas team manager Aboy Castro, however, stuck to the positives.
"Lot of positives in this game.:Man to man offense was very efficient. They (Angolans) had to zone us," Castro told Spin.ph. "Ball screen defense has already improved."
Paul Lee, who missed the team's last two games due to hip injury, managed to play for 15 minutes with no pain at all, Castro added.
Ranidel de Ocampo chipped in nine points while Gabe Norwood added seven for Gilas, which plays the Dominican Republic on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time).