MANILA, Philippines—Gilas Pilipinas fell to a hot-shooting Mexico side, 84-77, on Monday as Jordan Clarkson sat out the Philippines’ final tune-up game ahead of the Fiba World Cup.
With Clarkson resting, Gilas lacked the firepower to match its foe in the second half, where Mexico broke loose and never looked back.
Gilas team manager Butch Antonio and coach Chot Reyes made sure to allay any concerns about Clarkson’s health four days before the World Cup comes off wraps.
“He just needed a rest,” said Antonio. “Nothing like that (injury). He really just wanted to rest.”
“He just really needed to rest,” Reyes echoed.
Before the game, Clarkson requested for a break after seeing action in Gilas’ 85-62 win over Ivory Coast on Friday and 102-87 loss to Montenegro on Sunday where the 31-year-old guard played close to 30 minutes.
Despite the Utah Jazz star’s absence, the Nationals kept it close. A basket by AJ Edu brought Gilas within three, 72-69, at the midway mark of the fourth.
Gilas, however, couldn’t pull any closer after several missed chances.
Scottie Thompson, who just recovered from a fractured right hand, was the lone double-figure scorer for Gilas with 14 points while Dwight Ramos and RR Pogoy scored nine apiece.
Pako Cruz led the Mexicans with 18 points while Paul Stoll had 17. The two combined for nine triples.
Mexico, which is in Group D along with Egypt, Lithuania and Montenegro, shot 13-of-24 from long range while the Philippines struggled anew with a 7-of-23 shooting clip from distance.
Gilas plays the Dominican Republic, which arrived in Manila Monday night, on Friday at Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
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