Blatche, who only played 24 minutes due to foul trouble, tallied 14 points and grabbed 15 boards but the Philippines couldn’t quite pull off the massive, falling 85-81. Blatche was 6-of-9 from the field and swatted two shots away while also accumulating a couple of steals. He is averaging 21.0 points and 12.7 rebounds for the tournament.
Blatche was joined in double figures by Ranidel De Ocampo (18), and Jim Alapag (15), Jayson William (11). Alapag (5), De Ocampo (4) and William (3) combined to connect on 12 of the 13 three-pointers that Gilas knocked down.
Blatche started out strong scoring the first four points of the game as the Philippines jumped out to 10-2 lead. The Gilas pushed its lead to 17-7 on a De Ocampo trifecta with 5:12 remaining in the opening stanza.
Argentina fought its way back into the game with a 7-2 run to make it 19-14 at the 2:41 mark in the quarter. The teams combined for 13 points in a feverous last two minutes of the quarter that saw the Gilas hold a 25-22 lead.
The Philippines continued its solid play in the second quarter, scoring the first seven points to increase its lead to 32-22. Indiana Pacer Luis Scola’s jumper ended Argentina’s scoreless drought that lasted over three minutes. Argentina held the Philippines to just six points the rest of the quarter and took a 43-38 lead into halftime on a Marcos Mato three-pointer at the buzzer.
Argentina scored five of the first eight points in the third quarter to take a 48-41 lead. However, the Gilas battled back to tie the score at 48 on a Gabe Norwood dunk with 6:22 to go in the stanza. Following a three-pointer by both teams, Argentina went on a 17-2 run to take command of the game. Argentina led 71-59 after three quarters.
Scola led four players in double figures for Argentina with 19 points and seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end. Mata added 17 for the winners while Nicolas Laprovittola contributed 11 and Walter Hermann finished with 10.
Argentina (2-1) will play Senegal on Sept.3 while the Philippines (0-3) and Puerto Rico will meet.