Gilas Pilipinas dominates Lebanon as Justin Brownlee makes stellar debut
BOCAUE — Playing splendidly on both ends all of Friday night, the Philippines clobbered Lebanon, 107-96, to win the first of its two home stands in Fiba World Cup Asian Qualifiers at Philippine Arena here.
Gilas Pilipinas used a pinpoint three-point shooting to set the tone early and then sustained its stingy play on defense the rest of the way to pull out a convincing win over an old tormentor enjoying a seven-game tear and also looking to end its campaign on a high note.
Naturalized player Justin Brownlee turned in a debut to remember with 17 points, four rebounds, and five assists. Teen Mason Amos was just as spectacular in his first game with the men’s team with 13 points—most of which scored in a cutthroat third-quarter that pretty much took the fight out of the visitors.
A rousing debut for Justin Brownlee, who dropped 17 points (7/14 FGs), 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals to lead Gilas Pilipinas to a strong home win vs Lebanon 💪#FIBAWC x #WinForPilipinas 🇵🇭 pic.twitter.com/F0LSeQeB1O
— FIBA Basketball World Cup (@FIBAWC) February 24, 2023
Jamie Malonzo tallied 15 points while returning gunner Jordan Heading and program cornerstone Dwight Ramos both chipped in 10 in the effort that had the Nationals rising to 6-3 and moving at the doorstep of sweeping the qualifying window.
Ray Parks Jr. also had 10, while World Cup veterans June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez combined for 17 points in the blowout before a delighted crowd that included newly-minted World Cup ambassador Carmelo Anthony.
The win extended the Philippines’ winning streak in the continental showcase to four games and snapped the visitors’ at five games.
Only Gilas Pilipinas player was unable to score in the contest where the Philippines led by as big as 23 points.
Without top gun Wael Arajki and Ali Haidar, Lebanon leaned on veteran Amir Saoud’s 27, Hayk Gyokchyan’s 21 points, and Sergio El Darwich’s 19. Karim Zeinoun added 14 more as the Cedars dropped to 7-2.
Next for the Philippines is Jordan. The two nations square off on Monday, 6 p.m., at the cavernous venue.
The Falcons are also coming into the contest an inspired lot after booking a World Cup slot following New Zealand’s conquest of Saudi Arabia.
PHILIPPINES 107 — Brownlee 17, Malonzo 15, Amos 13, Parks 10, Heading 10, Ramos 10, Fajardo 9, K. Ravena 8, Perez 8, Thompson 5, T. Ravena 2, Oftana 0.
LEBANON 96 — Saoud 27, Gyokchyan 21, El Darwich 19, Zeinoun 14, Khoueiry 6, Mansour 6, Hadidian 3, Khalil 0, Rabay 0, Salibi 0, Mezher 0.
Quarter–scores: 25-19, 53-41, 82-64, 107-96.