Gilas Pilipinas capped off a series of tune-up games in preparation for the fifth window of the FIBA World Cup qualifiers with another loss to Lebanon, 60-71, Sunday in a jam-packed Meralco Gym.
The Philippine team finished with a 1-3 record, splitting its games against Jordan before absorbing back-to-back defeats at the hands of Lebanon.
The Filipinos got crucial stops early in the fourth quarter but struggled to convert their shots down the stretch.
Gilas was only trailing by three, 58-61, with six minutes left after back-to-baskets from Troy Rosario and Christian Standhardinger. But the Lebanese pulled away with a 10-2 closing run to secure the victory.
Clutch plays from James Majok and Ali Mezher were instrumental in stopping the home team's comeback attempts.
A brief commotion occurred when head coach Yeng Guiao exchanged a few words with his counterpart from the visiting team late in the third period, but unlike in the second match versus Jordan where the Philippines won by default, things did not escalate and action resumed.
Kai Sotto showed his fighting spirit in his debut with the national team by attempting to dunk over Lebanon's big man James Majok in the third frame. The 7-foot-2 young gun ended up getting fouled and earning two points from the line.
"We know we have a lot of work to do in the next few days," said Guiao. "We have four days to put together all our learnings in this series and try to make them matter in the game that is most important to us, which is the Kazakhstan and Iran game."
Gilas immediately returns to daily practices before marching into actual battle against Kazakstan on Friday and Iran on Monday.