GILAS PILIPINAS OPENS WC QUALIFIERS WITH DOMINANT WIN ANGAINST INDIA
Gilas Pilipinas handily trounced India, 88-64, to kick off FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers with a 2-0 record at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday evening, February 25.
With the win, the Philippines now joins New Zealand atop Group A with identical 2-0 records, including games won by forfeiture against South Korea which pulled out last minute due to COVID cases.
“We expected that we’d struggle a little bit, just due to the unfamiliarity. But overall, I was pleased with the effort, with everyone pitching in, trying to do his role, play his role,” Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes said.
“Like I said, it’s a first step. We’ve got a long, long way to go,” he continued.
The return of Thirdy Ravena and Dwight Ramos from Japan proved to be a major boost to set the tone and shook off a shaky start as they strived to an 18-13 lead after the opening period.
Angelo Kouame connected with the two as he drilled a slam dunk off a missed layup by Troy Rosario, then erased a layup by India’s Amritpal Singh in spectacular fashion.
The Filipinos closed the first half with a 12 point lead, capped by Robert Bolick’s layup that gave them a 44-32 advantage.
India tried to trim the deficit in the early stages of the third salvo, 39-46, but the Philippines did not give any hope to India as it ignited a decisive 22-8 run capped by a buzzer-beating Kib Montalbo triple to build a comfortable 68-47 cushion.
Gilas’ lead swelled to as big as 26 in the fourth quarter and never looked back.
Ramos and Ravena, who steadied the rhythm for Gilas in the first half, scored 17 and 15 points respectively.
TNT swingman Roger Pogoy ended with 12 points, NorthPort guard Robert Bolick added 10 points while Kouame shone on both ends with six points, nine rebounds, two blocks, and two steals.
Sahaij Pratap Singh Sekhon top-scored India with 14 points, while Prashant Singh Rawat added 13 markers.
India struggled in shooting as it racked just 39% from the field, including a paltry 2-of-13 from beyond the arc while Philippines made 46.38% of its shots and had a 47-36 edge on the glass.
Gilas will return to action on Sunday as it faces New Zealand.
Philippines 88 – Ramos 17, Ravena 15, Pogoy 12, Bolick 10, Montalbo 8, Kouame 6, Navarro 6, Erram 5, Williams 4, Gomez de Liano 3, Rosario 2, Rangel 0
India 64 – Sekhon 14, Rawat 13, Bhriguvanshi 9, Muthu Krishnan 7, Hafeez 6, A. Singh 6, Prince 5, P. Singh 4, Kumar 0, Manjunatha 0
Quarters: 18-13, 44-32, 68-47, 88-64