Gilas shows up a much better lot to sweep Asia Cup first window
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Gilas shows up a much better lot to sweep first window of Asia Cup Qualifiers

/ 04:30 AM February 26, 2024

What’s next for Gilas after Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers first window

Gilas Justin Brownlee

Justin Brownlee leads Gilas Pilipinas anew in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

What Gilas Pilipinas expected to be a tougher contest turned out to be one where it showed utter domination after the Nationals dismantled Chinese Taipei, 106-53, in the Fiba Asia Cup Qualifiers on Sunday night.

The Filipinos played without letup at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City with Justin Brownlee and Kai Sotto starring once again before a loud home crowd that had Gilas, counting a 30-point win over Hong Kong, sweeping the tournament’s first window.

And while he was truly pleased with the result, national coach Tim Cone knows that things will only be tougher for his charges from here on out.

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HIGHLIGHTS: Gilas vs Chinese Taipei at Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers

“This was a pretty game tonight. We went out there, but we didn’t go out there to put on a show for everybody, we didn’t go out there to show how good we are,” Cone said.

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“We just want to go out there to work, but we also realized we have a lot of work ahead of us and a long way to go,” Cone went on in the customary winning coach’s interview.

The form that Gilas showed was a far departure from the way the Nationals played in the first game of the window last Thursday in Hong Kong, where they got off to a sputtering start before carving out a 94-64 win.

Cone wanted his charges to be better. And the way they played against a side that was far better than they played last week sure made it seem that they responded.

Next foes

Up next for Gilas Pilipinas is the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Riga, Latvia, in July, where the hosts, who are ranked eighth in the world, and 23rd-ranked Georgia await the Filipinos in the group phase.

If anything, the Nationals made a good account of themselves, with Brownlee leading all scorers with 26 points that went with 13 rebounds and Sotto putting up another 18 and 10.

READ: Gilas takes first step toward ‘big goal’ with strong start in Fiba qualifiers

Four more locals chipped in at least 10 points, as the Filipinos collectively registered 10 steals and eight blocks in a cutthroat effort against the dumbfounded visitors.

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“This feels like an ending. We won’t play until another three or four months. And so it kind of feels like an ending for us. We wish we had one more game to play next week or in a couple of days, but that’s not something we control,” Cone said.

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“But I don’t think there’s one guy in our team not looking forward to June and getting back together and getting this thing going again.”

TAGS: Gilas Pilipinas

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