GILAS Pilipinas closed out its six-game New Zealand trip with a 76-77 loss to the Tall Blacks on Thursday in their closed-door match from Down Under.
Coach Chot Reyes and his team will be going home having lost three of their last four matches, although that hardly dampened the spirit of the Filipinos, who used the 10-day trip as their final build-up for the Fiba-Asia Men’s Championship two weeks from now.
"Lost to NZ natl team,76-77. Tall Blacks have only been practicing for 3 days & missing a couple guys. But we played well," Reyes said on his Twitter account @coachot.
"More importantly, we played physical - 2 of their guys bloodied, 1 limped off, all accidental of course."
Naturalized big man Marcus Douthit returned from a two-game absence after resting his ailing back, and held his own against the taller and experienced national team of New Zealand. The 6-foot-11 Douthit finished with 28 points and 14 rebounds.
The Tall Blacks are currently ranked 18th overall in the Fiba-World.
The nationals opened their six-game trip on a high note, posting back-to-back victories against the Hawke Bay Hawks of fabled coach Tab Baldwin in Napier.
Then they lost two close matches against the NBL All Stars (85-86) and the Wellington Saints (96-100).
Gilas bounced back by routing club team Super City Rangers in Auckland, 95-77, on Wednesday prior to the loss against the Tall Blacks.
Reyes and his team are expected to arrive in the country this weekend.