Gilas fends off late rally from Iran in tune-up match

Gilas Pilipinas Andray Blatche with a slam in a tune-up game against Iran. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Gilas Pilipinas got the challenge it needed, weathering a late rally by Iran, 81-70, in a tuneup Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Philippines led majority of the game and even took a 23-point lead in the third quarter before using a 9-0 spurt spearheaded by naturalized center Andray Blatche to close out the Iranians, who were without their star big man Hamed Haddadi.

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Iran came within two, 72-70, before the finishing kick from the Filipinos.

Blatche finished with game-highs 20 points and 11 rebounds for Gilas, which leaves for Greece on Friday for a three-week training camp in Europe as part of its Fiba Olympic qualifying tournament buildup.

Ryan Reyes, Terrence Romeo and Japeth Aguilar scored 12 points each.

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