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High-spirited Gilas get busted in the paint as De Colo, Parker lead France to victory



Gilas Pilipinas surprised their home crowd with an auspicious start against FIBA World no. 5 France Les Bleus, but the aggressiveness diminished while Nando De Colo and Tony Parker exploded in the paint to dictate the tempo of the game, 93-84, and notched their first win in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.

Philippines generated 34 points in the paint, while France had an astounding 77 percent shooting 27-of -35. The huge disparity in the paint was also an upshot in Gilas’ interior defense which was relentlessly attacked by the French unit behind Boris Diaw and Charles Kahudi’s great passing.

Andray Blatche led Gilas with 21 points, eight rebounds, three steals and a block but was staggered with four fouls in the latter.

Point guard Terrence Romeo provided ample help with 19 markers, shooting 3-of-5 from the arc while veteran playmaker Jayson Castro had 14 points, three assists and 5-of-11 field goals.

Philippines undoubtedly had a great start, capitalizing on Blatche’s aggressive offense in the opening canto. Blatche steered Gilas to a 30-22 first quarter with 14 points against France’s NBA-studded unit.

Yet, the EuroBasket reigning MVP De Colo can’t just watch France, the world no. 5, to be humiliated in the home of FIBA World No. 28.

De Colo asserted supremacy in the second frame and was backstopped by Tony Parker who sparked a 9-2 run for France, which earned them the two-point first half advantage.

Meanwhile, Gilas sniper Jeff Chan drilled back-to-back triples to keep the deficit on a striking distance. Castro hit another trey and cut the lead to three points.

The French backcourt remained unfazed and continued the onslaught in the last two frames. De Colo and Parker combined for 79 percent inside while Gilas fought for their survival in the absence of reliable contribution from their stretch big men. Jun Mar Fajardo, Ranidel De Ocampo and Troy Rosario only had 4-of-15 collectively.

Gilas gave their best but was not enough against a tough and resilient team like France.

De Colo made 27 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals for the Les Bleus while Parker added 21 markers, four boards and six dimes. Diaw only had nine points but was productive in rebounds and assist with nine and six, respectively. (Roxanne M. Enriquez)

Box Scores:

France (93) – De Colo 27, Parker 21, Tillie 10, Lauvergne 10, Diaw 9, Gelabale 8, Diot 4, Kahudi 2, Huertel 2, Batum (DNP).

Gilas (84) – Blatche 21, Romeo 19, Castro-Williams 14, Chan 9, Rosario 6, Norwood 4, Reyes 3, Parks 3, De Ocampo 3, Pingris 2, Fajardo 0, Aguilar (DNP)