Gilas’ comeback falls short against Estonia in international friendly game

Gilas’ Rhenz Abando shoots two shots from the free throw line (Carlo Pamintuan/One Sports via

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team was so close to pulling off a shocking upset but fell short in sustaining their efforts in the final stretch of their international friendly game against Estonia last June 28, 2023, held at the Kalevi Spordihall in Tallinn.

Gilas lost to Estonia, 81-71, but nearly stole the game after trimming their double-digit deficit to just three points with six minutes still left in the final frame.

It was all Estonia in the first half as their size and efficient shooting from downtown hurt Gilas’ defensive schemes.

After the first quarter, Estonia looked to blow the game wide-open after taking a commanding 29-14 advantage in a 10-minute set.

Estonia further pushed their lead to 22 points, 41-19, midway through the second quarter but Gilas stormed back after Dwight Ramos found his offensive touch.

Ramos provided the much-needed scoring spark for the national team who knocked down a series of important three-pointers to uplift the atmosphere within the Gilas side.

His offensive consistency then paved the way for the others to produce as Thirdy Ravena and Justin Brownlee joined the scoring barrage in the third frame.

Ravena officially put Gilas back in the game after converting on a fancy up-and-under drive to cut Estonia’s lead to seven points, 60-53.

Gilas then erupted after June Mar Fajardo put the national team to within three points after a deuce underneath, 66-63.

Just when the national team thought they could weather the storm in the final three minutes of the game, Estonia had other plans and sank timely baskets that halted Gilas’ fiery streak.

Ramos top-scored for Gilas with 16 points alongside five rebounds and two steals while the duo of Ravena and Brownlee combined for 17 points.