Easy does it

Gilas routs hapless Singapore by 52 points in merciless debut

By: - December 05, 2019

Starting coldly but finishing furiously, Gilas Pilipinas on Wednesday night gave the 30th Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball field a glimpse of things to expect–despite not playing to its full all-star potentional–after routing Singapore, 110-58, before a jampacked, appreciative gallery at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The Filipinos missed their first two free throws and three-pointer, but were on target the rest of the way as the hapless Singaporeans became the first side to fall in the Philippines’ bid to extend its dominant reign in this region’s version of the Olympics.

“It’s fun coaching a powerhouse team, no doubt about it,” multi-titled coach Tim Cone said. “But I don’t think we played our best game tonight. We were a little jerky and weren’t smooth offensively.”

Stanley Pringle, Matthew Wright and Kiefer Ravena connected from afar and the Filipinos dominated underneath with June Mar Fajardo, Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar as they settled the outcome right in the first half with a 48-28 lead. The first 50-point bubble came late as the Filipinos showed no let up.

“I believe we will get better and better as the games roll along,” Cone added.

The Philippines is coming off a sweep of the 3X3 events for men and women, and with the men sure to run unmolested for the rest of these Games, focus will also be on the women who will be shooting to win their first Games’ gold medal.

Afril Bernardino will again spearhead the National women’s five, which opens its campaign Thursday against Indonesia at 6 p.m. also at Mall of Asia Arena.

Cone’s boys will only return to action Friday against Vietnam, another light foe, at 8:15 p.m.

The last group phase assignment for the Nationals will be Myanmar on Saturday.

Cone admitted to knowing little of the Vietnamese, who gave the Philippine coach something to think about after blasting listless Myanmar, 131-52, in an earlier game.

Team Philippines has failed to win the basketball gold here twice, the last in 1989 with a team of collegiate standouts. The Filipinos have reigned supreme since the 1991 edition and hasn’t come close to losing a game.

And the local cage federation, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, has left nothing to chance by tapping an all-star PBA squad to defend its turf now that it is hosting the Games for the first time in 14 years.

Road to Spain

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