Gilas pulls away to beat Hong Kong in Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers

Justin Brownlee Gilas Pilipinas

Gilas Pilipinas’ Justin Brownlee in the Philippines’ game against Hong Kong in the Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers. –FIBA

HONG KONG — Promise delivered.

Save for a forgettable first half, the new-look Gilas Pilipinas played splendidly on both ends on Thursday night to whip Hong Kong, 94-64, and take a victory many thought they would easily take.

The Nationals found the gaps in their game just in time to pocket a resounding victory at Tsuen Wan Sports Centre here.

Naturalized ace Justin Brownlee starred with 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in his first game back from a three-month voluntary suspension helping the Nationals, ranked 38 in the world, to a key first victory in their four-year cycle geared towards returning to the Basketball World Cup.

“It’s obvious to anybody that we have a long ways to go. We hear that Taiwan gave New Zealand a real battle today so they’re gonna be a team to be reckoned with come Sunday. We gotta need to play a lot, lot better,” Gilas coach Tim Cone told reporters shortly after the clash.

Kevin Quiambao, the lone varsity star in the long-haul cast, tossed in 15 more in the triumph fashioned before a crowd that was mostly Filipinos.

Kai Sotto delivered a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds while Jamie Malonzo chipped in 11 more into the scoring effort to help Filipinos generate momentum heading into the homestand against Chinese-Taipei this Sunday at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Shiu Wah Leung had 15 points, Oliver Xu added 13 more for the hosts, who will face an even tougher battle when they play the Kiwis in Auckland.

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