Gilas Pilipinas suffered its first loss in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers, 88-63, in favor of New Zealand on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

/ 28 February 2022

The tandem of Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos, both coming from the recent Japan B.League tournament, gave their best to lead the team as the former delivered 23 points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals, and one block, combined with the latter’s 18 points, 10 boards, three steals, three blocks, and two assists.

It was a great performance from the Ateneo standouts, but it was not enough to maintain the team on a level playing field with New Zealand as the Tall Blacks finished the first frame with a 22-19 lead.

The relentless Tom Vodanovich and Dion Prewster, the last two MVPs of the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZ NBL), pushed their way out to win after delivering 20 points apiece.

Vodanovic led the 30-20 advantage at the middle of the second frame after his successful layup and continued to dominate in the third frame after hitting a three-pointer with 1:18 left.

Still, Gilas did not go down without a fight as Robert Bolick who scored an overall 10 points rallied in the fourth quarter trying to close the gap, 71-56, with 6:35 left but it was a futile battle as New Zealand widened the score and stole the victory with an 88-63 advantage.

The Philippines and New Zealand are at 2-1 and 2-0 standings, respectively.

The scores

NEW ZEALAND 88 – Prewster 20, Vodanovich 20, Loe 15, Samuel 12, Rusbatch 10, Harris 5, Fahrensohn 4, Britt 2, Gold 0, Cook-Green 0, Rodger 0, Wynyard 0

PHILIPPINES 63 – Ravena 23, Ramos 18, Bolick 10, Kouame 5, Pogoy 4, Rosario 2, Williams 1, Erram 0, Montalbo 0, Gomez de Liano 0, Navarro 0, Tungcab 0

Quarters: 22-19, 40-30, 65-48, 88-63