Congo hands Gilas Pilipinas first loss in Spain

MALAGA, Spain - The Gilas Pilipinas Men absorbed their first loss of their Spain training camp after being dealt an 82-71 beatdown at the hands of Congo at the Jose M. Martin Carpena in the Torneo de Malaga on Friday.

Rookie Robert Bolick turned heads with a 21-point and six-rebound performance to lead the Philippines, while Andray Blatche finished with 15 markers, eight rebounds, and five assists.

After suffering a blowout loss against the Philippines just three days prior, Congo was more competitive this time. They battled to trail, 33-32, at the halftime break.

The second half saw Congo attack the Filipino's interior defense repeatedly, and bullied their way to a 58-55 advantage before the payoff period.

The Philippines' offense sputtered, with their three-point shots failing to hit the mark consistently. Congo went on a 10-1 burst in the fourth quarter to grab a 76-61 cushion with 2:54 left in the game.

Congo's late run proved to be too much for the Philippines, who were unable to mount a fightback.

Ron Mvouika and Ruphin Kayembe combined for 37 points for Congo in the win.

Gilas had only nine players against Congo as Gabe Norwood sat out with a groin injury and Kiefer Ravena is still serving out the remaining days of his FIBA-imposed suspension.

Head coach Yeng Guiao was disappointed with the result, but was determined to learn from the ordeal.

"We won two games, but we learned a lot more from the game that we lost," Guiao said. "Those games that we've won, we've already forgotten."

"This game that we lost, we need to retain those lessons and bring them to the World Cup," he said.

The Philippines will attempt to end their Spain training camp on a high note when they take on the Ivory Coast for their final game on Saturday at the same venue.