Calvin Abueva and Alaska gave the young Gilas team everything it could handle before the national squad leaned on Kiefer Ravena’s key triple late in the game to escape, 120-117, concluding its tuneup game against PBA teams on Saturday at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.
Abueva, who just over a month ago, helped Gilas retain the 2017 SEABA men’s championships here in Manila, figured in a heated encounter with Fil-German forward Christian Standhardinger in the final period.
The 6-1 Alaska forward later admitted, he was merely trying to “test” the 6-foot-8 Standhardinger, who will be making his official debut in a Gilas uniform in the William Jones Cup a few days from now.
Fortunately, cooler heads quickly intervened, leading to the heart-stopping endgame.
Gilas lost an 8-point lead when import LaDontae Henton and Calvin Abueva connived on a 14-5 run to give the Aces a 117-116 lead with under 60 sweconds left to play.
But the six-foot Ravena showed nerves of steel, burying the go-ahead triple with 28 seconds to go for a 119-117 lead. Standhardinger, later made 1 of 2 foul shots off a foul by Henton as Gilas completed a 3-game sweep of PBA teams in their tuneup matches. Gilas beat NLEX (113-112) and Blackwater (105-101) in their previous games.
Import Mike Myers, who’ll reinforce Gilas in Taipei, led the national squad with 17 points, while Carl Cruz, Matthew Wright and Standhardinger scored 15 apiece, while Ravena wound up with 14.
Henton, back for a second tout of duty with Alaska, banged in 41 points, while Abueva added 17.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH