Aguilar provides spark as Gilas rolls past Thailand, 108-53

May 16, 2017

Japeth Aguilar led the way in their second-quarter breakaway and his teammates picked up from there as Gilas Pilipinas rolled past Thailand, 108-53, to move within two games of sweeping the 2017 SEABA Championship at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Tuesday night.

Aguilar soared for a pair of jarring jams, hit from beyond the arc and went 6-of-6 overall from the field and 2-of-2 from the stripe as he took charge in the second quarter to get Gilas going after a sluggish first period.

The 6-foot-9 Ginebra stalwart kept his rampage in the second half and Gilas roared on to another dominant triumph following earlier routs against Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia.

Vietnam is expected to be another easy picking for Gilas Pilipinas in their 7 p.m. tiff Wednesday.

The Nationals could well face some competition versus Indonesia at the close of the competition Thursday since Indon naturalized player Jamarr Johnson and American-Indon Arki Wisnu have already gained their FIBA clearance.

Johnson and Wisnu suit up with the Indons as they tangle with Myanmar at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

The Thais tried to wage a fight, but could only do so in the first quarter.

Starters Chanacho Klahan, Nattakarn Muangboon, Patiphan Klahan, Teerawat Chanthachon and Chitchai Ananti fought Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Allein Maliksi, RR Pogoy and Jayson Castro stride for stride, even getting Thai ahead at 8-7.

Behind a hard, efficient defense, the Thais held Gilas to a woeful 1-of-9 three-point shooting and forced the Filipinos to five turnovers in the first 12 minutes of action.

“We talked about it before the game. My first word in the pre-game was that we’ll be tested. Thailand is playing very well, long and athletic and is well coached. They do a great job packing the lane and they used their size to defend the shooters,” said Gilas coach Chot Reyes.

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Gilas, however, settled down at the end of the first period, with their second group – led by Aguilar -- working on a decisive romp that opened a 51-26 lead at the half.

Aguilar, Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Troy Rosario, Matthew Wright flattened Thailand in the second quarter, with the others having their hand in the demolition job later on.

“Our second unit gave us lift. Japeth had hell of a game. That second unit really gave us the lift and created separation,” said Reyes.

Aguilar ran a superb show in the middle quarters and finished with 23 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes of action.

Abueva put in 15 markers, Blatche and Romeo rattled in 11 apiece while Fajardo came up with 11 rebounds and nine markers.