GILAS Pilipinas 5.0 pummeled SCTEX, 106-83, at the Meralco Gym on Monday night to put an encouraging finish to what had been a rocky buildup for the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup.
The Gilas cadets kept SCTEX at bay the entire way before pulling away for good in the fourth quarter behind Kevin Ferrer, who hit two timely three-pointers to open a commanding 98-73 lead entering the last three minutes.
The win should come as a boost in confidence for the young, largely untested team, which struggled to put away college teams Far Eastern University and Ateneo in previous tune-ups under coach Josh Reyes.
Now the hard part begins for this national side left without PBA players as well as amateur standouts Kiefer Ravena and Rayray Parks, beginning with group-stage matches against regional rival Chinese Taipei and India.
"I'm very thankful sa SCTEX team for helping us out," said Reyes, who will have multi-titled coach Ryan Gregorio by his side in the September 9-18 tournament in Tehran.
"Its' a good practice game for us. There are still a lot of corrections but hopefully with this game we will be able to correct our mistakes."
NLEX reserves James Forrester and Eric Camson led the way for SCTEX.
Earlier in the day, Gilas' practice was graced by Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) officials led by Manny V. Pangilinan, who gave the team a pep talk prior to its departure for Iran on Tuesday night.
With Pangilinan were SBP president Al Panlilio, Ricky Vargas and national coach Tab Baldwin.