Gilas takes a step backwards in France tournament with lopsided loss to Australia
Gilas Pilipinas lost by a wide margin to the Australians after an impressive stand against France a day earlier. Jerome Ascano

GILAS Pilipinas failed to keep pace with a taller and faster Australian side on Sunday, dropping a 97-75 loss in the 2014 Antibes International Basketball Tournament at the Azur Arena in Antibes, France. 

Dante Exum, the fifth pick overall in the last NBA Rookie Draft, led the way for the Australians in a comprehensive win against a Gilas side that took a step backwards after a tough stand against France on Saturday.

The incoming Utah Jazz rookie teamed up with NBA veteran Matthew Dellavedova, Ryan Broekhoff and the wide-bodied Aron Baynes in a murderous second-half tear that took the fight out of the Filipinos.

Exum finished with an all-around game of eight points, six assists and five rebounds while Baynes fired a team-high 15 points for the Aussies, which improved to 2-0 in the four-nation pocket tournament.

Broekhoff added 14, and Dellavedova and Brad Newley had 13 points apiece while Nathan Jawai added 10.

“Ang lalaki ng mga Australians,” said Gilas team manager Aboy Castro of the team from Down Under, which opened the tournament with a 74-65 dismantling of Ukraine.

Gilas’ naturalized center Andray Blatche finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but the former Brooklyn Nets center finished with no assist in more than 28 minutes of play.

Jayson Castro came back from a hip injury to score 12 points, while Jeff Chan and Gary David chipped in 11 and 10, respectively, for a Gilas team which Castro acknowledged didn't have the same energy that it showed in a 68-75 loss to France just a day earlier.

“We didn’t have the same energy and focus we had yesterday (against France),” Castro said.

Gilas, which is using the France tournament as part of its buildup for the Fiba World Cup in Spain, will try to avoid going winless in the three-day tournament on Monday against Ukraine, which is coached by veteran NBA mentor Mike Fratello.

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