Turkey survives late Terrence Romeo flurry to beat Gilas in tuneup

The taller Turkey national squad survived Terrence Romeo’s endgame shooting spree as the visitors swept their 2-game exhibition against Gilas Pilipinas, 84-76 on Friday night before an appreciative partisan crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Trailing by 14 points with less than 2 minutes to play, the cat-quick Romeo sparked Gilas’ endgame push after scoring 8 unanswered points to pull the Filipinos to within 76-82.

But Turkey managed to milk the clock from there, while Gilas failed to buy a basket inside the final 58 seconds as its rally fell short.

The national squad, now in the final phase of its preparation for the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, came out with a much better performance compared to its 103-68 beating from this same Turkish team in Istanbul last week.

Naturalized big man Andray Blatche led Gilas with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 5 and 2 steals, while Romeo scored all of his 16 in the second half, spiked by 3 triples.

Turkey’s tall front court was just too much to handle for the undersized Gilas side as the visitors dominated the rebounding department, 43-33.

Pint-sized guard Ali Muhammad led Turkey, ranked 8th in the world, with 16 points, while 7-foot slotman Semih Erden added 13 and 6 boards.

Left-handed sharp-shooter Sinan Guller also chipped in 13, while going 3-of-5 from the three-point area.

Gilas begins its Olympic bid next Tuesday against world no. 5 France, before going up against New Zealand the following day at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The scores:

Turkey (84) — Muhammed 16, Erden 13, Guller 13, Geyik 12, Osman 10, Mahmutoglu 8, Asik 5, Sipahi 2, Korkmaz 2, Savas 2, Balbay 1, Hersek 0

Gilas (76) — Blatche 20, Romeo 16, William 13, Norwood 10, Parks 6, Rosario 4, Aguilar 3, Fajardo 2, Reyes 2, Chan 0, Pingris 0

Quarter scores: 19-10, 40-33, 65-53, 84-76