Gilas Pilipinas pulled away late behind Roger Pogoy's three-point shooting to subdue the visiting Adelaide 36ers, 92-83, in the first meeting of the Goodwill Games on Friday at the Meralco Gym.
Just a week removed from TNT's PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals loss, Pogoy shook off the fatigue by burying back-to-back triples to cap off a furious endgame fightback.
Adelaide held an 81-80 lead after scoring nine unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Gilas, though, refused to give up by leaning on Pogoy's hot hands while forcing the visiting Australian club to three turnovers to seal the win.
Andray Blatche flirted with a triple-double with 19 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.
Blatche said the biggest takeaway was the national squad showed poise against the rugged play of the Australian pro ballclub. But he expects Gilas to put up a better showing in the second exhibition match.
"Overall, we competed and stayed in the game. We didn't lose our composure and we came out with the win," he said. "We know it will be a lot tougher for us (on Sunday)."
Meanwhile, Adelaide coach Joey Wright was pretty impressed with Gilas' effort despite playing without injured slotman Poy Erram and sharp shooter Matthew Wright.
"They got a lot of heart and they got a lot of passion and they can shoot," noted Wright, a former PBA import who played for Presto in 1992.
The 36ers coach admitted Blatche, who provided Gilas with veteran leadership, gave them trouble.
"Probably much like the same because they'll try to attack us with Blatche as much as they can," shared Wright. "But we just got to make are we neutralize Andray and just be aggressive."