SEABA 2017: Gilas Pilipinas virtually eliminates Malaysia, extends winning streak to 3

MANILA, Philippines - Gilas Pilipinas is still on the top post with its win over Team Malaysia, 106-51 on Mother’s Day, May 14 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Philippines shares the podium with its co-leader Indonesia with 3-0 standing.

Jayson Castro won the Best Player of the Game with an all around performance
Jayson Castro won the Best Player of the Game with an all around performance: 10 points, 4 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Gilas Pilipinas dominated its regional archnemesis, Team Singapore last night. But despite of the convincing 47-point lead, Coach Chot Reyes wasn’t impressed at all. He had to raise the defensive meltdown concern on the second half that gave opportunities to the Singaporeans at all spots of the floor. Tonight, Coach Reyes expected his boys to address the issue.

Malaysia drew the first blood. But for June Mar Fajardo, it was a sort of humiliation and had tainted their record of zeroing their opponents for at least first 5 minutes of the opening period in their last 2 games. So he showed his might by releasing the inner “Kraken” in him for a deuce and one followed by Allen Maliksi from the three point territory.

Jayson Castro introduced himself to the young Malaysian team as the 2-time Best Point Guard in Asia by cutting and slicing its core defense not once but twice.

Normally, Chot Reyes fields in his key players late in the game and let his rookie players do the job. But due to the unforgiving defensive lapse against Singapore, Reyes brought his hustle player, Calvin Abueva and swatter Japeth Aguilar early in the game with more than 6 minutes left in the first.

Among all the teams that Gilas has faced, Malaysia is the only team that gave them a hard and tough start. The reason might be: basketball familiarity. Majority of the Malaysian cagers came from a local ball club, Blu Detergent that played as a guest team in PBA D-League. The familiarity in Filipino style of basketball and easy access to watch and scout PBA games and players gave them the luxury to match Gilas’ intensity in the first 10 minutes of the game at least.

Japeth Aguilar wowed the crowd with his thunderous jams. One of those came from a wonderful alley-oop off transition from Terrence Romeo.

After the first canto, Gilas was just up by 19 points, 36-17 with Terrence Romeo leading all scorers with 9 points.

Matthew Wright opened the second quarter with a triple together with Andray Blatche’s own version of a trey along with an emphatic block on Wei Yong Ong that sent him scrambling on the floor.

Philippines posted its biggest lead of 31, 51-20 at the 4-minute mark of the second courtesy of Jayson Castro and Matthew Wright. June Mar Fajardo closed the half with an easy basket from a lob pass from Terrence Romeo. 61-26 in favor of Team Pilipinas. Jayson Castro topped all scorers entering the 2nd half with 10 markers.

Coach Chot started his howitzers: Blatche, Aguilar, Wright, Abueva and Romeo with the aim to leave Malaysia way behind in terms of scoring. The Gilas big guns provided Coach Reyes a spark and gave him a 40 plus lead early in the third period. Blatche continued to locate his new found shooter Matthew Wright for money balls.

88-35 at the end of the penultimate quarter, still in favor of Gilas Pilipinas and Troy Rosario chipping in 11 points, all in the said period.

Couple of turnovers welcome Team Philippines in the final quarter with the heavy hitters resting on the bench and Zhi Chin converting a 2-pointer and Yee Tong Heng bagging a three for their team.

Allein Maliksi was called for a unsportsmanlike foul off a fastbreak due to an advertent elbow to a Malaysian player nullifying Jio Jalalon’s left-handed layup. This was the first unsportsmanlike or technical foul called against Gilas since day 1. Despite of the misfortune, Philippines hit the 100-point mark with 4 more minutes remaining in the ballgame.

Gilas Pilipinas wrapped up the game with a 55-point lead over the Malaysians 106-51. Jayson Castro won the Best Player of the Game with an all around performance: 10 points, 4 boards, 3 assists and 2 steals.

With the win, Gilas Pilipinas is now toe to toe with Team Indonesia for the top spot. Indonesia edged its former co-leader Thailand early this afternoon.

Team Pilipinas will have a day-off tomorrow in preparation for its match against Thailand on May 16 at 7pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum live on Sports 5.

--Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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