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36ers go down fighting in Manila

THE Adelaide 36ers went down fighting 83-92 yesterday in Manila to the Philippines national team in Game 1 of their two-match "friendly" series, a series which still sits uncomfortably with most Aussie basketball fans.

While many continue to wonder why an NBL club would want to assist the Filipinos in their FIBA World Cup preparation after the events of July, 2018, the Sixers simply got on with the job of bonding ahead of their 2019-20 season with a solid opening performance.

On a 9-0 fourth quarter run, Adelaide took an 81-80 lead. That was when Roger Pogoy hit a pair of threes while three 36ers turnovers opened the door for the home team to pull away.

(You remember Pogoy? He deliberately struck Chris Goulding and was the guy Daniel Kickert then decked to ignite the "melee in Manila". Who knew Pogoy could actually play?)

Philippines centre Andray Blatche went within a dish of a triple-double with 19 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists, while Ramone Moore's 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting paced Adelaide.

Harry Froling scored 11, with a team-high seven rebounds, Brendan Teys and Dan Dillon with 10 points apiece for the Sixers.

Adelaide's starting quintet was Deyshon Taylor, Moore, Jack McVeigh, Daniel Johnson and Eric Griffin.

"They got a lot of heart and they got a lot of passion and they can shoot," Sixers coach Joey Wright said of the home team. Wright played as a PBA import for Presto in 1992.

"Blatche (below) is just an unbelievable player, 18 rebounds, 19 points - he was extremely dominant and he's good enough to get them a couple of (World Cup) wins.

As for what Wright expects tomorrow in the return match, again behind closed doors at Meralco Gym: "Probably much like the same because they'll try to attack us with Blatche as much as they can.

"But we just got to make sure we neutralise Andray and just be aggressive."

The Filipinos jumped out to a 25-16 first quarter break but were reeled in by halftime when the 36ers responded with a 33-25 second period.

In other World Cup warmup games, Canada twice beat New Zealand's Tall Blacks in Sydney, 122-88 in Game 1 before being taken to overtime in the return bout.

PHILIPPINES 92 (Blatche 19, Aguilar 17, Perez 12, Pogoy, Dalistan Lee 10; Blatche 18 rebs; Blatche 9 assts) d ADELAIDE 36ERS 83 (Moore 16, Froling 11, Teys, Dillon 10; Froling 7 rebs; Dillon 5 assts) at Meralco Gym, Manila.

Aug 24

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