Gilas opens SEABA campaign with lopsided win over Myanmar
May 12, 2017
Ranged against a hapless rival, Gilas Pilipinas stuck to its game, ruthless in a 147-40 blasting of Myanmar in the opener of the 2017 SEABA Championship at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night. The Nationals broke a good sweat in playing the kind of game they intended to use in the duration of the short one-round-robin competition. They hardly held their punches and battered badly an overmatched team the Philippines could handle easily with its youth team. “A lot of times tayo ang dehado. Very rare na tayo ang llamado. And we decided we would play same kind of intensity and effort even if you’re the favored team,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes of their 107-point demolition job. “I know there are a lot of things and lots of talks around this game, around this campaign. We just talked about the game we need to play, and not worry about all the strenuous things. We just focused on things we needed to do to get the job done,” Reyes also said. It was a no-contest from the onset with Gilas going on a 17-0 roll before Myanmar came through with a first basket on a breakaway layup by Thu Tun Tun Sei off a steal on Jayson Castro. The Filipinos scored almost at will in storming to a 32-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and to a 66-12 margin at the half. And they worked with no let up in the final half, sending a strong message that they mean business in the tourney serving as the regional eliminator for the coming FIBA Asia World Cup qualifying event. The chanting home crowd erupted to cheers as Roger Pogoy scored on a drive to establish a 100-point Gilas spread at 140-40 with 2:50 left to play. Singapore is up next for Gilas at 7 p.m. Saturday. The same result is expected for the Filipinos. A short-handed Indonesian team showed its readiness to compete in clobbering Singapore, 71-50, while Thailand overcame a sluggish start and a tough challenge of a young Malaysian squad, carving out a 74-67 win earlier in the day. All the Gilas players buckled down to work and all but three of them finished in double figures. Calvin Abueva and Allein Maliksi fired 22 and 20 points, respectively, with Pogoy, Jiovani Jalalon, Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar and Matt Wright adding at least 11 each. “It’s part of our respect to our rivals to play our game. Mahirap din naman awatin ang mga players natin,” said Reyes. Terrence Romeo (with six), Raymond Almazan (six) and Castro (two) were the three Gilas players who had the least numbers. The Nationals were their own rivals in their game against the Burmese. They committed two errors plus defensive lapses, allowing Myanmar to score seven points in the opening quarter.