The French national basketball team pulled off a come-from-behind win against Gilas Pilipinas, 75-68, in Antibes, early Saturday morning (PHL time), as part of the Bleu Blanc Tour.
The Philippines shook off a first quarter 22-20 deficit to snatch away the lead in the middle two periods, 39-35. However, their momentum began to falter when naturalized center Andray Blatche seemingly hurt his ankle late in the third.
A two-pointer by Portland Trail Blazer Nicolas Batum knotted things at 55-all, 8:15 left in the game, but baskets by Jimmy Alapag and Gary David armed them with a five-point cushion, 60-55, a minute and change later.
Undaunted, France took the lead for good on an Antoine Diot triple, 64-62. The door was still open for Gilas though, as Blatche made his way back to the court. They were also getting opportunities at the foul line, but just couldn’t cash in, as Gabe Norwood and Paul Lee could only hit half of six free throw attempts between them, 73-68 with a minute left.
Florent Pietrus then nailed a dagger, 75-68, with exactly a minute left, while Gilas was silenced in the remaining time.
Paul Lee led Gilas with 12 points on 3-of-7 shooting and had three rebounds. Blatche also had 12 markers but needed 17 shot attempts, in addition to seven boards, two dimes and two steals. Jeff Chan hit three triples en route to 11 points, while Gabe Norwood added 10 markers.
Jayson Castro sat this game out.
France was led by Batum’s double-double of 16 points and 11 boards. Joffrey Lauvergne and Florent Pietrus chimed in with 12 and 10, respectively. Boris Diaw had just one point, but made up for it with 10 boards and four assists.
The Philippines will next play the Australian national team at midnight today, (PHL time).