Gilas Pilipinas Continues Winning Streak, Blasts Singapore in SEABA 2017


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MANILA, Philippines - In day 2 of SEABA 2017 men’s basketball championships, Gilas Pilipinas maintained its pristine record by giving Singapore its 2nd consecutive loss, 113-66 on May 13 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Matthew Wright continues to prove his worth by winning the Best Player of the Game
Matthew Wright continues to prove his worth by winning the Best Player of the Game. Photo Credit: Spin.ph
Fresh from their 107 point win over the hapless Myanmar, Gilas Pilipinas faced another familiar SEA nemesis, Team Singapore who lost its opener to Mario Wuysang and the rest of the Indonesian ballers. With the aim to replicate its previous outstanding performance, Gilas 5.0 continued to impress and make the home crowd proud.

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Coach Chot Reyes used the same starters during their previous game with June Mar Fajardo manning the 5 position and opened the scoreboard followed by fellow big man Andray Blatche.

It was almost a dejavu for Team Philippines as they left the Singaporeans scoreless until the 5:38 mark of the first, 11-0. Singapore placed themselves on the run with 2 foul shots and a triple.

Roger Pogoy and Terrence Romeo started to rain treys to increase the lead to 20, 27-7 under a minute of the opening period. Troy Rosario closed the quarter with a reverse layup for a much convincing margin of 22, 31-9. Despite of almost couple of a dozen lead, Gilas’ zero turnover in the first was more impressive.

Newly discovered gunner Matthew Wright joined Pogoy and Romeo in the three point parade to escalate their advantage.Singapore Slingers Guard Wong Wei Long on the other side of the floor was silently and single-handedly providing numbers for his team.

Obviously, Singapore is a better and stronger team than Myanmar. Rain or Shine Center Raymond Almazan can barely man the middle where most of Singapore’s points came from. Japeth Aguilar on the other hand kept swatting basketballs to keep their opponents in getting closer.

After the first 20 minutes of the ball game, Gilas was up 63-29 with Roger Pogoy topping all scorers with 9 points.

The Singaporeans started the third with 5 consecutive points but Andray Blatche who spent most of his first half on the bench fired twice from the outside to counter their rivals’ hot start.

Coach Reyes was aware with the Singaporeans’ capability to catch up and bounce back like what they did to Indonesia yesterday. It was just unfortunate that they rallied late and Mario Wuysang was almost unstoppable. With that said, Coach Chot fielded in his big gunners to avoid an upset.

Despite of having a steady 30-point lead, Gilas Pilipinas lacked tenacity in the defense department and grabbing the boards that resulted to a beautiful Singaporean-run. Coach Reyes didn’t like his boys’ defensive meltdown at the 4-minute mark so he immediately called a ceasefire to regain his team’s defensive composure.

At the end of the penultimate quarter, Philippines was still up and established their biggest lead of the game, 89-51.

Gilas hit the 40-point lead at the start of the last period courtesy of Jio Jalalon. Matthew Wright and Allein Maliksi began to ring the bells from the outside after a long time to match Singapore’s waxing hot hands from downtown and at the perimeter. Midway of the fourth, Gilas had a comfortable 105-59 lead.

Half-a-century lead was achieved by Gilas at the 2-minute warning of the ball game but it was immediately trimmed by Hun Liew with his own three but nonetheless, Gilas bagged its 2-game winning streak 113-66 while Singapore fell to 0-2.

Matthew Wright earned the Best Player of the Game with 13 points.

Earlier, Indonesia beat Malaysia, 63-42 while Thailand dismantled the debuting Vietnam, 76-49. With their respective wins, Indonesia and Thailand triple tied with Philippines at the top spot with 2-0 win-loss record.

The top three teams will try to win all of their games in the days to come to secure the trophy. There will be no playoffs, quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals in the SEABA tournament format. The team with the most wins after 6 games will be declared the champion.

Indonesia will be slugging it all out with co-leader Thailand at 3pm tomorrow while Philippines will attempt to preserve its immaculate record against the winless Malaysia at 7pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum which will be aired live by TV5.

--Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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