Gilas Pilipinas Buries Myanmar by 107 Points to Open 2017 SEABA Championships

MANILA, Philippines – The Gilas Pilipinas Men’s National Basketball Team gave the less-experienced Myanmar a serious beating during the 2017 SEABA Championship opener at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with an incredible 107 points, 147-40 lead on Friday night, May 12.

Calvin Abueva was named Best Player of the Game in SEABA 2017 debut.
Calvin Abueva was named Best Player of the Game in SEABA 2017 debut.
Prior to the tournament proper, local and international basketball pundits have already placed their bets on Philippines to win the South East Asian qualifiers. But returning Coach Chot Reyes just shook off the flowery comments and warned his boys not to be too complacent and not to take every game lightly despite of them being the heavyweights.

Despite of the late assembly, short preparation and naturalized Filipino player and NBA veteran Andray Blatche’s super late arrival, Team Pilipinas still hunted and devoured Myanmar. Coach Reyes took the opportunity to experiment on his rotation by fielding in his unusual starters like Allein Maliksi, Roger Pogoy and Matthew Wright mixed with Jayson Castro and Andray Blatche while giving his gunners more time on the bench.

Rookie Roger Pogoy heated-up early in the first by chipping in 11 points with 3 three pointers for the early lead. It was a 17-0 run until the opposite team scored their first 2. With less than 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter, Reyes pulled out all of his starters and replaced them with his heavy hitters like June Mar Fajardo, Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva, Japeth Aguilar and another newcomer Jio Jalalon at the point position.

From the very start, it was already an overkill by the Filipino cagers. They didn’t give the Burmese with any open and easy shots. Ginebra tower Japeth Aguilar flied high in both ends of the floor, swatting almost all inside shots and dunking over the smaller antagonists. Aguilar even made a reverse two-handed dunk while posterizing 3 Myanmar ballers. After the first 20 minutes of the ball game, Gilas players found themselves ahead of the Burmese by a monstrous margin 66-12.

Calvin Abueva erupted from both outside and inside and produced a game-high 22 points seconded by Allein Maliksi with 2 points lesser than Abueva. Maliksi was the biggest revelation for Gilas Pilipinas who can provide more fire power for Coach Chot along with fellow first timers Roger Pogoy and Matthew Wright who all caught Blatche’s eyes due to their immaculate long bombs.

Early in the fourth when Pilipinas hit the century mark and showed no sign of slowing down and kept on pressuring Myanmar to keep them afar.

The final horn sounded and Gilas left the audience in awe with a 107 point lead over Myanmar and sending a strong message to the 5 more teams whom they are about to face in the days to come. Philippines will be playing Singapore tomorrow at 7pm. The Singaporeans, bannered by ABL veterans were clobbered by Indonesia early this afternoon headed by another ABL mainstay Mario Wuysang and without their naturalized player Jamaar Johnson.

The Gilas Pilipinas vs Singapore will be aired tomorrow at 7pm by Sports 5 live at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

PHILIPPINES 147 – Abueva 22, Maliksi 20, Pogoy 17, Fajardo 14, Jalalon 13, Rosario 13, Wright 12, Aguilar 11, Blatche 11, Romeo 6, Almazan 6, Castro 2

MYANMAR 40 – Wana 12, Aung M. P. 8, Zaya 6, Aung P. W. 3, Tin 3, Sai 2, Thant 2, Sei 2, Kaung 2, Wai 0, Thein T. O. 0, Thein H. 0

Quarterscores: 32-7; 66-12; 110-29; 147-40

--Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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