Gilas all business, puts Hong Kong away by 51 in Fiba Asia
CHANGSHA CITY, China – The real Gilas Pilipinas showed up to play on Thursday morning and vowed never to fall back into a state of disharmony again.
Still licking the wounds of an enormous reversal the day before, the Filipinos put order back in Group B play of the Fiba Asia Olympic Qualifier by blowing Hong Kong off the floor, 101-50, at Changsha Social Work College gymnasium here.
Jason Castro, upon instructions from coach Tab Baldwin, took over offensively, shooting 21 points built around a 5-for-6 clip from beyond three-point zone as he led the Filipinos in playing with sustained hunger for the most lopsided game in the tourney thus far.
“Coach (Tab Baldwin) asked me to take over for this game,” Castro told international media after going 7-of-9 from the field and 2-for-2 from the stripe in just 19 minutes. “In the first game, my job was to distribute (the ball) and it didn’t work out.”
Andray Blatche scored 17 points and had eight rebounds in 18 minutes and three others scored in twin digits for Team Philippines, which revived its chances of gaining top seeding in Group B because of the rout.
“Much better effort today,” Baldwin said. “Lots of good things come from effort and lots of bad things come from the lack of it. Today, the result speaks for itself.
“Effort is a choice, today our effort was really good.”
As things stand, the Philippines and Hong Kong are at 1-1 and a three-way tie for the top could ensue if Hong Kong defeats giant-killer Palestine and the Filipinos win as expected over lowly Kuwait on Friday at 4:30 p.m.
In that scenario, a triple tie would happen at 2-1 and the Philippines, having lost to Sani Sakakini and the Palestinians by just 75-75 on Wednesday, could end up with the best quotient by virtue of its 51-point decision of Hong Kong.
The Filipinos made Hong Kong and its star player Duncan Reid look really bad, holding the enemy to just two points in the first six minutes and to the same total in the last five of the second quarter before taking a 29-point lead at halftime.
Gilas started out hot with everyone learning their lesson of that shocking loss to Palestine – considered now as one of the biggest upsets in Asian basketball – as the Filipinos never took a chance and played Hong Kong man-to-man right from the opening tip.
Blatche and Castro sat out the final 10 minutes but had done their damage on Hong Kong, which came into the game fresh from a morale-boosting 87-50 thumping of the Kuwaitis on Wednesday morning.
Dondon Hontiveros scattered 14 points on 4-for-6 from beyond the arc, while Terrence Romeo and Ranidel de Ocampo combined for another 21 in a balanced attack which the Filipinos failed to come up with against the Palestinians.
Siu Wing Chan paced Hong Kong with 13 points, Reid held down to just 11 and five rebounds mainly because the likes of Blatche, Marc Pingris and Asi Taulava were assigned on him by Baldwin.
GILAS PILIPINAS 101—Castro 21, Blatche 17, Hontiveros 14, Romeo 11, De Ocampo 10, Abueva 8, Ganuelas 7, Intal 5, Thoss 4, Pingris 2, Taulava 2, Norwood 0.
HONG KONG 50—Chan 13, Reid 11, Wong 7, Xu 6, Au-Yeung 5, Lin 5, Cheng 2, Leung 1, So 0, Lau 0, Lee 0, Szeto 0.
Quarters: 28-15; 51-22; 83-38; 101-50