Sporting four new players in their lineup, the Gilas Cadets executed down the stretch to beat the Mapua Cardinals, 97-78, in the 12th Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup presented by Chooks-to-Go on Monday night at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Robert Bolick, Matt Nieto, Thirdy Ravena, and Filipino-American Troy Rike suited up for the first and their impact was felt immediately.
Bolick put up 13 points and dished out three assists and shared point guard duties with Matt Nieto who contributed nine points. Paras chipped in with 12 points, including two triples while Rike added 11 points and eight rebounds.
With the Cadets lineup reinforced, head coach Jong Uichico was even able to deploy a daunting frontcourt of 7-foot-1 Kai Sotto, 6-foot-7 Carl Tamayo and 6-foot-8 Isaac Go.
"We just experimented on things like playing three bigs. It worked. We're just trying to make use of all the players," said Uichico.
The Cadets used a decisive fourth quarter, outscoring the Cardinals, 25-14. The endgame has been a weakness for the Philippine squad and their late-game execution was finally in full display in their eight game of the tournament.
"Well, that's where the point guard comes in," Uichico shared. Gilas' offense looked as formidable as ever, with a 55 percent field goal shooting and 18 assists.
"By the way it looks, we are now a team," beamed Uichico.
Gilas now has a 3-5 record and will have one game left on their schedule. They face the EAC Generals on June 12.
For the Cardinals, Cedric Pelayo and Eric Jabel had 14 points apiece to lead a valiant effort. They were able to keep in-step with Cadets for three quarter before crumbling in the fourth quarter.
GILAS 97 - Bolick 13, Paras 12, Rike 11, Nieto 9, Ravena 8, Tuffin 8, Tamayo 6, Alejandro 5, Sotto 5, Gozum 5, Tratter 4, Go 4, Tolentino A. 4, Mocon 3, Tolentino V. 0
MAPUA 78 - Pelayo 14, Jabel 14, Victoria 12, Aguirre 11, Lugo 9, Biteng 6, Bonifacio 5, Bunag 5, Gamboa 2, Nocum 0, Pajarillo 0, Serrano 0
Quarterscores: 25-21, 49-38, 72-64, 97-78