Gilas Pilipinas makes it 2-in-a-row after taking down Thailand

MANILA, Philippines – Coming from a convincing win against Bahrain in the Asian Games basketball tournament opener, Gilas Pilipinas made it two-in-a-row as the nationals clobbered resilient Thailand, 87-72 on Thursday, September 28 in Hangzhou, China.

Aside from a showdown against Rondae Hollis-Jefferson-led Jordan, the fans are also looking forward to seeing Gilas Pilipinas square off against SEA neighbor Thailand.

Gilas Pilipinas makes it 2-in-a-row after taking down Thailand
Despite the slow start, Justin Brownlee and CJ Perez managed to lift up Gilas Pilipinas and survived the scary Thais. Photo Credit: Business World Online

Tough opening quarter for Gilas as naturalized player Tyler Lamb was solid offensively and was instrumental for the Thais’ early lead in the first.

On the other hand, the Filipinos seemed jinxed as they struggled in all angles of the floor. Justin Brownlee, for an instance, had been clamped down by his defender and produced his lowest output in two first quarter games in the Asiad.

Aside from Lamb, Jakongmee Morgan and Frederick Jones-Lish inflicted more damage to the Philippines in the opening quarter.

The Filipinos bounced back in the latter phase of the first period led by June Mar Fajardo to cut the lead to just a shot, 22-20.

Come the second period, Coach Tim Cone capitalized on Philippines’ height advantage under the basket and instructed the boys to run transition offense that gave them the opportunity to grab the lead.

Though having double-digits under his name, Lamb abruptly slowed down as he committed his third personal foul with two more quarters remaining in the game.

Both Ange Kouame and CJ Perez were Gilas’ go-to-scorers in the second period and Brownlee finally found his rhythm and closed the first half with a 41-35 advantage after trailing by as much as 10 earlier.

Undaunted by his personal fouls, Lamb used the halftime break to re-compose himself and continued to explode in the third quarter. The naturalized Thai broke the 20-point mark at the dawn of the third.

Philippines posted its first ever double-figure advantage mid of the third period courtesy of Brownlee and Perez who both had 10 points.

Despite the excellent offense, Gilas struggled defensively as the team was called for multiple foul infractions. Cone had to sit out Calvin Oftana with over 5 minutes left due to 4 personal fouls.

Although foul-stricken, the Philippines ramped up its margin as the players started to connect from the outside.

Rebounding has also been a factor in Gilas’ surge in the third quarter, outboarding Thailand 44-26.

Gilas Pilipinas collared Lamb almost the entire period and jotted down a 68-50 lead as the nationals wrapped up the penultimate quarter.

On one hand, the Thais needed one more quarter to win the game and stay alive in the tournament after absorbing a tough loss against Jordan in their previous game.

Thailand’s Jones-Lish initiated scoring barrage early in the final canto followed by his teammates for a full 14-0 run to downsize Philippines lead to just 5 from as high as 21.

After seeing Thailand knocked on the door, Brownlee and Perez took the helm anew for Philippines to bring the advantage back to double-digits and prevent Thailand from a full take over.

The misfortune continued for Gilas, as the players kept shooting blank in the crucial and dying moments of the fourth.

Sensing that victory was almost in their hands and with a comfortable lead, the Filipinos melted the clock away and escaped the resilient Thais, 87-72.

Gilas Pilipinas will be tested anew in a couple of days as the squad faces a much tougher Team Jordan on Saturday, September 30.

SEE ALSOLivestream, schedule: Gilas Pilipinas in Asian Games 2023

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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