Gearing for clash with hosts, Gilas Pilipinas dismantles Malaysia – rezal404

It's off to a flying start for Justin Brownlee and Gilas Pilipinas.  —TEAM PHILIPPINES PHOTO

It’s off to a flying start for Justin Brownlee and Gilas Pilipinas. —TEAM PHILIPPINES PHOTO

The Philippines played at full throttle on Tuesday afternoon to destroy Malaysia, 94-49, and notch a key first win in its steep trek back to the top of the Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball competition.

Gilas Pilipinas didn’t look affected by logistical woes the day before, playing splendidly on both ends on the way to the blowout at Morodok Techo Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

“We challenged the first group to get us off to a good start. For them to set a good example. It’s really their responsibility to the whole team to start us off well,” national coach Chot Reyes said.

Save for skipper and defensive whiz Chris Ross, each member of the National Team contributed offensively with newcomers Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and Michael Phillips turning in noteworthy performances.

Ganuelas-Rosser had 15 points and five rebounds, while Phillips finished with nine and 15 spiked with five steals and two blocks.

Justin Brownlee had 11 points, not needing to do much with the likes of Arvin Tolentino, Marcio Lassiter, CJ Perez, Mason Amos and another fresh face in Jerom Lastimosa chipping in at least eight in the scoring effort.

Reyes was particularly impressed with Phillips and Lastimosa, whom he felt played their roles at the hilt.

The rousing debut couldn’t be more timely for the Philippines which girds for a Cambodian squad that has shown glimpses of their capabilities.

The hosts fielded three naturalized players during the 3×3 competition which they eventually won at the expense of the Philippines. Darrin Dorsey, Brandon Peterson and Sayeed Pridgett—all Americans by birth—are expected to fortify the five-on-five squad that Gilas plays this coming Thursday.

But within that whipping of Malaysia, Gilas manufactured a window to prime itself for the acid test ahead.

The Nationals’ break this Wednesday should afford them a breather before the clash with Cambodia. But more importantly, it should allow Calvin Oftana to rest after suffering a calf strain following a slip on the venue’s makeshift flooring.

“We have a casual right away. Calvin Oftana strained a calf muscle that’s why we didn’t play him anymore in the second half,” Reyes said.

The Philippines will need to finish in the top two of the group phase to advance to the crossover semifinal. Gilas caps the opening round with a duel against Singapore on Saturday at 2 pm


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