By REYNALD MAGALLON
Nikola Vucevic and Montenegro gave Gilas Pilipinas a quick reality check, coming away with a 102-87 victory in their closed-door friendly match at the PhilSports Arena on Sunday, Aug. 20.
After only scoring just seven points in the first half, Vucevic took over in the third quarter where the Black Mountains pulled away for good against the Filipinos who for the most part of the contest rode the back of Jordan Clarkson.
The Chicago Bulls center in the NBA dropped 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter where the Montenegrins unloaded a 12-3 spurt to establish a double-digit spread they never relinquished until the final buzzer.
Vucevic, who also hauled down 9 rebounds, got ample support from his supporting cast with Bojan Dubljevic chipping in 16 points while Kendrick Perry added 15 points and nine assists.
Clarkson, on the other hand, carried the fight for Gilas with 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field but committed game-high eight turnovers.
The Utah Jazz star, though, connived with Dwight Ramos in the strong first quarter showing for Gilas where they combined for 14 points as the Filipinos even took an eight point lead, 19-11 against Montenegro late in the period.
Clarkson would then drop 12 of his total in the second frame although Gilas found itself trailing at the break by two, 42-40.
June Mar Fajardo contributed 19 points while Ramos was the other double-digit scorer for Gilas with 13 points.