GILAS Pilipinas gave Turkey a late scare before surrendering a 76-84 decision in their tune-up game on Friday night as both countries finalized their preparations for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament next week.
Terrence Romeo went on a one-man run, scoring eight unanswered points, the last on a three-pointer that pulled the Filipino dribblers within six points late in the game to the delight of the home crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Turkey kept its composure from there to complete a sweep of Gilas in their two tune-up games, although the margin of victory was way lower than in their 35-point win over the Filipinos in Istanbul.
"We played much better compared to the game in Istanbul, but the Filipino fans must've seen the level of game that we will be facing in the competition," Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas president Manny V. Pangilinan said after the practice game.
Ali Muhammed led the Turks with 16 points, but it was Samet Geyik and Melih Mahmutoglu who scored the crucial baskets that gave them enough cushion in the end.
Romeo’s eight-point outburst in under a minute was half of his total output, all in the second half, while Andray Blatche paced the hosts with 20 points, seven boards, five assists, two steals, and one block, against five turnovers.
Jayson Castro chipped in 13 points, three assists, and three boards, while Gabe Norwood was the other double-digit scorer with 10 markers along with six boards.
Before the late comeback, Gilas came to within seven points, 72-65, after Norwood scored five straight points, including a contested left-wing three-pointer, only for Turkey to negate it and build another double-digit lead, the most at 14 points.