The Philippine Men’s National Basketball Team won back-to-back friendlies ahead of a pocket tournament in Spain as part of their preparation for the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

The Filipinos pulled out double-digit wins against the national teams of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in Guadalajara. In the first match, naturalized center Andray Blatche led the team to a 102-80 romp with 25 points, while Japeth Aguilar and Mark Barroca added 22 and 16 markers each.

In their 94-83 victory against the Ivory Coast today, Blatche once again paced the Filipino squad with 18 points and 10 dimes, while guard Paul Lee Dalistan added 16 while shooting 71 percent from the field.

World Number 82 Congo will not be taking part in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, while the 64th ranked Ivorians are bunched with China in Group A. All three teams are playing in the pocket tournament on Friday.

In the tourney, the Philippines will once again face the Congolese squad, in which the winner advances to meet the winner of the other bracket consisting of hosts Spain and the Ivorians.

The Philippines’ Spain Pocket Tournament Schedule:
August 9 – Philippines v Congo (Tournament)
August 10 – TBA (Tournament Final)

Nearly half of the players selected by head coach Joseller ‘Yeng’ Guiao to be included in the selection pool missed the Spain trip, including June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Christian Standhardinger, Troy Rosario, and Roger Pogoy, who are all currently seeing action in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Finals back in Manila.

Forward Raymond Almazan also reportedly failed to acquire an entry visa, while Stanley Pringle and Marcio Lassiter were also ruled out due to injuries.

Gilas Pilipinas are set to travel down to the Spanish coastal city of Malaga for a rematch against Congo in the pocket tournament August 9, hoping to set up a meeting with hosts Spain in the Final.

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